After building a perfect 13-0 professional MMA record, which included victories over Yoel Romero and Uriah Hall in recent years, Costa was given his first shot at gold last September. But against Israel Adesanya on Fight Island, the Brazilian was dismantled and easily beaten before the headlining fight even reached round three. His performance was described as “very weird” by UFC President Dana White.
Costa hit the headlines following his championship defeat after he admitted that he’d drunk too much wine before the bout, and was hungover when he fought “The Last Stylebender.” According to the 30-year-old, leg cramps were keeping him awake, and in an effort to force himself to sleep, Costa had drunk an entire bottle of win in an attempt to “black out.”
In a recent interview with ESPN, “Borrachinha” explained what caused the pre-fight problems he experienced the night before the pay-per-view.
“My weight cut was very hard, but it’s always hard. The problem is that in Abu Dhabi, the fight happens in the morning, not at night. So, you get one night more [of recovery]. And what happened is, after my weight cut, I had recovered very well. But then I trained so hard. I was so confident, that I trained hard. I trained more than is recommended after a weight cut. And I think this made a lot of problems in my body. I had a lot of cramps and I had a lot of problems trying to sleep.”
Costa went on to suggest that drinking a small measure of wine in order to fall asleep is common practice for him. But at a point of desperation, and with his main event drawing ever closer, the Brazilian overdid it.
“I had decided to fight. I would not let this fight fall out,” Costa said. “After the physical therapist stepped out of my room, I went to my bed but couldn’t fall asleep. I tried melatonin, but it didn’t work. Sometimes I will use one cup of wine when I feel a lot of stress, it’s helped me a little bit, but just one cup, when I have time to put it out of my body. But it was too late. I was desperate to fall asleep.”
After a clash with former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker fell through in April, and a meeting with fellow contender Jared Cannonier failed to materialize this summer following a pay dispute between the Brazilian and the UFC, Costa looks set to finally make his first walk to the Octagon of 2021.
In a battle of former title challengers, “Borrachinha” will face Marvin Vettori on October 23. “The Italian Dream” is coming off a five-round loss to Adesanya at UFC 263 in June. Here’s hoping we’ll be seeing a sober Costa in action come fight night…
Who do you think will have their hand raised on October 23? Paulo Costa or Marvin Vettori?