Paulo Costa Names The One UFC Star That Could ‘Bring Back The Old Paulo’

"The Eraser" reflects on his recent losses and reveals who he'd like to fight next.

Costa Grey
(via @borrachinhamma - Instagram)

Paulo Costa wants to go back to basics.

Costa: “I Need Redemption…”

En route to his first UFC title shot in 2020, Brazil’s Costa was considered an unstoppable force and for good reason. “The Eraser” racked up 12 straight stoppage wins before seeing the scorecards versus the immovable Yoel Romero. Though, Costa never looked quite the same after then-champion Israel Adesanya dominated him in their title fight at UFC 253.

Costa, 33, has impressed in performances vs. Luke Rockhold and even in a loss to Robert Whittaker, but his momentum slowed after a split decision loss to former champ Sean Strickland at UFC 302 in which Costa was far too hesitant in his approach over the course of five rounds.

Suffering back-to-back losses to the best in the world, Costa knows exactly what he needs to do to return to winning ways and that starts with a fight with middleweight boogeyman Khamzat Chimaev. 

“I think he’s a perfect kind of fighter to bring back the old Paulo,” Costa said on ‘The MMA Hour‘. “To bring back the aggressivity, bring back the ferocity. I will look for that. You can see on my face, I can’t wait to bring back this [style] because I need redemption. I’m so upset, bro.

“Nobody can be more upset than myself. When I do a bad fight against, like I did against Sean. I’m not talking about losses. Losses can come and goes. [Had] I got the victory, everything changed on my mind. I don’t think that the people had so bad perception about myself because the losses. But, I’m upset about myself.”

There’s History Between Chimaev & Costa

The former title challenger has already been booked once before against Chimaev as the two middleweight contenders were matched up at UFC 294 last October. However, Costa had to withdraw due to injury two weeks out from the fight, leaving Chimaev to battle former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman instead.

Undefeated at 13-0, Chimaev was scheduled to put his record on the line in a title eliminator vs. Robert Whittaker this weekend at UFC Saudi Arabia but like Costa, he too had to pull out (due to being ‘violently ill’ as described by Dana White), leaving Whittaker to face another in Ikram Aliskerov – much to Costa’s disapproval as he wanted to get “redemption” against his former foe. 

Though, there may be a silver lining for Costa and Chimaev yet in all of this and Costa and apparently the fans are there to see it.

“I need that fight. Chimaev is perfect guy,” Costa said of who’d he like to fight next. “I think he looks a little bit crazy. So this ought to be a very fun fight. And people in Brazil don’t stop to talk about that, we need to fight ‘Gourmet Chenchen’… European fans, Mexican fans, the people around the world want to see that fight.

“Even the Russians, some Russians send me messages and say, ‘Yeah, you should fight him’… So, they want to see some exciting fight. I think this is the fight to make. I think if Hunter and then stop to think about, I don’t know when [Chimaev] will come back. I don’t know if even he come back. I don’t know nothing about that. But if he can back to fight, back to cage, [he should fight me].”

There were rumors of Khamzat Chimaev retiring after his latest withdrawal due to health concerns, however, those rumors were put to rest as Chimaev’s manager has stated, “he will be back” in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.

With that said… Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa, anyone?

Published on June 17, 2024 at 6:52 pm
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