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Despite Dana White’s edict, Paulo Costa not leaving middleweight division without UFC title

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UFC Fight Night: Costa v Vettori Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone with UFC Vegas 41 lighting up UFC APEX last Sat. (Oct. 23, 2021) in Las Vegas, Nevada, along with Bellator 269 taking place inside VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Tim Johnson, who was knocked out in the very first round by Fedor Emelianenko in the Bellator 269 main event (highlights). And Seung Woo Choi, who was forced to tap by Alex Caceres in a back-and-forth Featherweight bout at UFC Vegas 41 (see it here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from both shows?

Paulo Costa.

This fight week was truly one of the most bizarre we’ve had in a while. A few days before the UFC Vegas 41 weigh ins, Costa let the world know that he was well over 200 pounds and that there was now way he’d make the 186-pound weight limit. After he and Vettori agreed to fight at a catchweight of 195 pounds, the fight was turned into a Light Heavyweight bout because the weight cut was simply too much for Costa.

So not only did the hulking Brazilian draw the ire of the combat sports world, he was forced to cough up 20-percent of his purse to Vettori, who said after the fight that he would be buying himself a nice watch with his bitter rival’s money. To make a bad week even worse for Costa, he wound up losing a unanimous decision to “The Italian Dream,” giving him his second straight loss.

After the fight, Costa drew even more criticism for claiming that a bicep injury was the culprit behind him coming in heavy. And as you would have guessed it, not everyone was buying that injury having anything to do with cutting weight. Now, Costa will have to cover a lot of ground to get back in the good graces of the UFC higher-ups and the fans.

But, does he really want to?

He seemingly embraced the role of heel and some insiders even went as far as to say his weight drama was all a ploy to get his walking papers from the promotion, one he hasn’t been too fond of as of late. If that were the case, it didn’t work because as of this writing he is still on the roster. Furthermore, UFC head cheese Dana White went on record saying Costa would be fighting in the Octagon for the foreseeable future, but it won’t be as a Middleweight, stating that he would be competing in the 205-pound division moving forward.

Costa remains unconvinced.

“I could fight 205 but I could fight 185 as well, so I think it’s better for me to come back to my weight, to 185, look for the belt, and after that move up,” Costa said at the UFC Vegas 41 post-fight press conference. “I can fight 205 anytime, but if I can make 185, why not?”

A trip north is probably the best move for Costa because he no longer has to worry about tough weight cuts and since he’s lost two straight at 185 pounds, a change in scenery might do him some good. As far as who Costa should face in his first fight in his new weight class, assuming he actually goes there, is hot-and-cold veteran Ion Cutelaba.

It might not be the best fight Costa is looking for since Cutelaba isn’t ranked, but then again Costa isn’t either since he only has one fight in the division. But it has fireworks written all over it. Both men are wild and love a good fist fight. It would be a good first matchup to introduce Costa to the division against a true Light Heavyweight.