Paulo Costa Believes That he is the Hero Brazil Needs

Paulo Costa has recognized that Brazilian MMA is not at the heights it once was and believes he is the fighter to turn it around

Costa enjoyed the most significant scalp of his career to date when he dispatched former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 217.

Now 11-0 in MMA, the Brazilian middleweight told Ariel Helwani that he holds a desire to lift his country back up to the superpower it once was in MMA (via MMAFighting):

“We need a new hero in Brazil because we had many legends in the last generations, but now we need to renew this,” Costa said. “And I think I have the biggest name to carry the torch.”

Costa also confirmed that he would be happy to face his idol Anderson Silva inside the Octagon but doubts he is at a level where a bout would come to fruition:

“It’s a great honor for me because he’s my idol. No problem,” Costa said of a fight with Silva. “It’s good for me. He’s my idol, so I think he’s amazing. But I don’t know, he’s a superstar so maybe he wants to make super fights.”

Another Brazilian legend, Vitor Belfort, was in the crosshairs for Costa and his team but that fight eluded the 26-year-old:

“He made the same with Anderson Silva,” said Costa, referring to Belfort’s UFC title fight with Silva alter the duo trained together in the past.

“He called me when he was going to fight Chris Weidman, but the fight (was cancelled) because Chris Weidman injured his ribs and he (didn’t speak) with me again after. It was not good,” Costa continued. “I trained with Vitor two times, he called me, but I’m not his friend. And he’s not my friend too. And I’m professional.

“The UFC called Wallid Ismail, my agent, and said ‘ok, we have a new fight for Paulo here, against Vitor Belfort, what do you think about?’ Wallid called me and said that, and I said, ‘Of course, let’s go now. When is this fight?’ And Wallid called (the UFC) again and said, ‘Ok, let’s do this’, and Vitor said, ‘No, he’s coming now (to the UFC).’ I don’t know why Vitor don’t like this fight.”