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Jan Blachowicz claims ‘weird dude’ Paulo Costa turned down potential UFC 288 fight

A light heavyweight scrap between Jan Blachowicz and Paulo Costa was looking good to go for UFC 288 ... until Jan says Paulo changed his mind.

UFC 278: Costa v Rockhold Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

For a hot second it looked like we might have an exciting scrap between Jan Blachowicz vs. Paulo Costa added to UFC 288 on May 6, 2023. The “horrifying” pay-per-view (PPV) card was in need of a pump up after Charles Oliveira pulled out of his fight with Beneil Dariush due to injury (details here), and Costa had challenged Blachowicz to a Light Heavyweight scrap.

Unfortunately, nothing came of the offer. UFC went on to book a five-round Gilbert Burns vs. Belal Muhammad Welterweight contenders match for UFC 288’s new PPV co-main event. According to Blachowicz, his potential fight with Costa fell apart because “Borrachinha” turned down the fight (a fight that he suggested in the first place).

Blachowicz explained what went down in a new interview with Polish mixed martial arts (MMA) site, Lowking.

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“Friday afternoon, the question comes if I want to fight Costa,” Jan said. “I say, ‘one moment, one moment,’ because in my case it meant a very strong reorganization of my life. I had to really do a lot – if he had agreed at that moment, as I agreed, because I agreed to this fight, I would already be in the States by now. I’d already be there, I’d be training, I’d be catching the vibe.

“I reorganized the lives of people who were supposed to fly with me, myself, my manager Dorota,” he continued. “I had to do a lot. The kid, her, the people around me. And I managed to do it. I say, ‘Okay, but now let the dollars do the talking.’ That was Dorothy’s job. Let the dollars do the talking if we take the fight. Dollars have also spoken. I say, ‘Hey, adventure!’ I feel good, I’m in training. It’s OK, we’re taking this fight, why not.”

But, then the fight plans came crashing down.

“Sunday, probably evening, I’m starting to go to bed, Dorota comes in and says that Costa does not want this fight,” Blachowicz said. “So, I canceled everything, people went back to their ways of life again. And now he’s screaming something on the Internet again that he wants to fight me. I don’t quite understand his train of thought.

“I don’t know if he was drunk, at that moment he sobered up and he lost his vision?” he continued. “I don’t know what’s in his head. I’m not sitting there. Weird dude, weird type. There will be no more of this fight.”

We have to wonder whether this is a case of Costa turning down the fight or UFC passing on it because the promotion already secured Burns vs. Muhammad to seal the hole in its upcoming PPV card. Costa recently signed a new UFC deal that he says makes him the highest-paid Brazilian on the roster.

He’ll have to wait until October before he gets a taste of that new money, though. UFC has made it clear they want him to fight Khamzat Chimaev on the Abu Dhabi card, and don’t seem interested in booking him in the six months leading up to then.

Whatever the case, we’ll have to move on with no Blachowicz vs. Costa in our lives. It doesn’t sound like Blachowicz is interested in re-booking the fight after the whiplash he just experienced. And Costa has his plate full in the fall.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 288 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 288: “Sterling vs. Cejudo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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