Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is in negotiations with former Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and top 185-pound contender, Paulo Costa, for a UFC Fight Night main event bout on April 17, 2021, according to Sherdog. While no interim title will be on the line for the fight, CBC Sports contributor Cole Shelton reports that both men have been promised a shot at the title with a win.
Whittaker vs. Costa is a fight that has been rumored since Nov. 2020, shortly after Costa was not only beaten, but embarrassed, by current division champion Israel Adesanya in one of the biggest UFC cards of the year. Costa’s manager Wallid Ismael has been “terrorizing” UFC President, Dana White, for the bout (and an interim title designation) and despite some initial reluctance on the part of Whittaker, it sounds like the fight is coming together.
Whittaker is coming off a solid unanimous decision win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 254 in Oct. 2020, while Costa hasn’t fought since his disastrous title shot at UFC 253 one month prior. Adesanya is the sole loss on “Borrachinha’s” 13-1 record. As for Whittaker, Adesanya was the first loss for the New Zealander since a 2014 loss to Stephen Thompson.
Adesanya is currently moving up to Light Heavyweight to challenge 205-pound champ Jan Blachowicz, which is the reason there’s been so much interim talk. But, with “The Last Stylebender” not bulking up for the division change and looking to stay active, there’s a good chance he’ll happily return to defend his belt against either Whittaker or Costa if their performances merit it.