Exclusive: Paul Craig Predicts Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev, Reveals When And Who He Wants To Fight Next

Paul Craig has predicted Khamzat Chimaev will defeat Paulo Costa inside the distance at UFC 294.

Paul Craig
Paul Craig (Left) and the fight poster for Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev (Right)(Images via Instagram @PaulCraig and @Khamzat_Chimaev)

Paul Craig believes Khamzat Chimaev will emerge victorious against Paulo Costa. 

On October 21, Costa looks to continue his journey back to a UFC middleweight title fight. It’ll be easier said than done, as Chimaev plans to make a statement in his return to 185 pounds. The two top-tier middleweights will meet inside the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi for the UFC 294 main card. 

During an exclusive interview with MiddleEasy, Craig was asked how Costa vs. Chimaev could play out. ‘Bearjew’ responded by saying:

“I reckon he [Chimaev] should be able to impose his will on Costa. But Costa is this big powerful 185er, so it’s going to be interesting, that’s why the UFC have made this. If I was a betting man, I would go for Chimaev.”

Craig continued:

“Probably under three rounds, I don’t see that going the distance. I feel that Chimaev will just out-grapple him and weigh him down. As I said, it’ll be that — jiu-jitsu that will help him seal that victory.”

Chimaev holds a UFC record of 6-0, with five wins coming inside the distance. He was potentially one win away from a welterweight title shot before drastically missing weight at UFC 279, leading to him most likely staying at middleweight. 

Meanwhile, Costa suffered a severe setback between 2020 and 2021 when he lost two consecutive fights against Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. In August 2022, the Brazilian fan-favorite bounced back by securing a unanimous decision win against Luke Rockhold. 

Paul Craig wants to fight once more before the end of 2023

Paul Craig made his UFC debut in December 2016 and fought at light heavyweight fifteen times in the Octagon. On July 22, Craig made his middleweight debut against Andre Muniz at UFC London. ‘Bearjaw’ defeated Muniz with a second-round TKO and earned the number thirteen ranking at 185 pounds. 

During the same exclusive interview with MiddleEasy, Craig was asked when he hopes to fight next. The 35-year-old responded by saying: 

“I think it’s probably gonna be the end of the year. I would like one more before… Get me done by the end of the year. I know there’s a Brazil card coming up. I would love to be involved in that… [Brendan] Allen, I think he’s number eleven at the moment, that’s an interesting fight for me. I’m looking for something in the top ten.”

Craig has voiced his interest in fighting someone in the top ten, including number ten-ranked Brendan Allen or number nine-ranked Jack Hermansson. ‘Bearjew’ is also intrigued by fighting the unranked Bo Nickal, whose name value makes him an intriguing opponent. Only time will tell what’s next for the Scottish middleweight.

Published on August 4, 2023 at 5:19 am
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