Paulo Costa’s manager is not letting up on a potential middleweight showdown between Costa and former champion Robert Whittaker.
Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker have two things in common: both have lost to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and both will do anything to get that loss back in a rematch. Of the two, Robert Whittaker seems to be much closer to having this opportunity. He is currently the #1 contender in the division and has won two straight fights.
Paulo Costa, on the other hand, lost his last fight in the aforementioned bout to Adesanya, and he and his management team are eager to get a major win that will lead right back to Adesanya. And there is no better win to achieve that goal for Costa than over Robert Whittaker.
“This fight has been discussed ever since they first announced that Adesanya would fight the 205-pound champion Blachowicz,” Paulo Costa’s manager Wallid Ismail told with MMA Fighting. “Dana White said he wants this fight, that he would make this fight happen, and Whittaker said he would only fight for the belt next. We’re just waiting for Dana White to book this fight.”
Team Costa Wants To Sweeten The Pot
Wallid Ismail recently claimed that there was indeed a fight in the works between Costa and Whittaker and that the holdup was coming from the Whittaker camp. Paulo Costa did not mince words when he saw Adesanya’s post-fight celebration at UFC 253 which saw the champion hump the downed Brazilian, and his seething response has no doubt influenced his efforts to get a fast track back to the title.
And this same bad blood that helped generate buzz for the first fight between Paulo Costa and Adesanya would be even bigger in a rematch, Ismael believes, which of course means more dollar signs for the UFC.
“This is the best fight for 185, the No. 1 against the No. 2,” Ismail said. “The winner… Borrachinha will win, and with that win, imagine how many pay-per-views a rematch with Adesanya would do. It’s a business. It’s the best pay-per-view possible because Borrachinha and Adesanya really hate each other, but we can’t leave the division on hold. That’s why we have to make this for the interim belt.
“It’s a win-win for the UFC, and that’s what Dana White wants. He knows that Borrachinha vs. Whittaker will sell well, and he knows how much the title unification bout will sell, too.”
With Israel Adesanya moving up to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight championship in March, now may be the best time for Paulo Costa to try to maneuver himself right back to the top of the contender’s list, which is precisely what an interim title would do for him.
Do you believe the UFC should book an interim middleweight title bout between Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker?