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Paulo Costa agrees to new UFC contract, targets Khamzat Chimaev and Sean Strickland bouts

Paulo Costa is staying put.

After a recent contract dispute dissolved his potential UFC 284 clash with Robert Whittaker in Feb. 2023, Costa has agreed with the promotion on a new four-fight deal. Costa credits his new manager — his girlfriend, Tamara Alves — for sorting things out after a seemingly tumultuous brief period in UFC.

“I haven’t signed the contract yet, but we have reached a deal with the UFC regarding the pay,” Costa told PVT (h/t MMA Fighting). “It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of hard work, and I have to highlight Tamara’s brilliant work here.”

Costa last fought at UFC 278 in Aug. 2022, battling it out in a “Fight of the Night” against former Middleweight titleholder, Luke Rockhold. The Brazilian bested Rockhold via unanimous decision (watch highlights) to snap a two-fight skid that began with his Sept. 2020 title shot against Israel Adesanya.

Whittaker seems to be out of the equation for Costa after things fell through the first time. Costa noted that he’s been presented with a fight against Sean Strickland on a May date along with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 21, 2023.

“I want that, too,” Costa said of facing both men back-to-back in 2023. “[The UFC] wants to make sure this Chimaev fight happen at all costs, but I want to make both happen. We’ll see.”

The foundation was laid for a Costa vs. Chimaev clash in Sept. 2022 after the two had a run-in at UFC Performance Institute (P.I.) during Chimaev’s UFC 279 fight week. Nothing physical went down between the two as only words were exchanged, but later in the week, Chimaev shared that he wasn’t interested in fighting Costa.


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