Paulo Costa Releases First Statement On UFC 302 Loss, Promises Return To ‘Taking Heads Off’

UFC middleweight Paulo Costa fell to a second straight loss in 2024 this past weekend, and he’s now vowing to make changes.

Costa returned to action after an 18-month layoff this past February in Anaheim, where he impressed in defeat against former champion Robert Whittaker. The same can’t be said when it comes to his efforts against another ex-titleholder on June 1, however.

In the co-main event of Saturday’s pay-per-view, “Borrachinha” shared the Octagon with Sean Strickland. While the pair promised a bloodbath at last week’s press conference, it turned out to be the opposite on fight night.

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In the end, “Tarzan” emerged victorious from a largely one-sided, lackluster clash. While he staked his claim for a shot at redemption against Dricus Du Plessis, Costa has been left reflecting on what went wrong in Newark.

Costa Vows Violence From Here On Out After UFC 302 Loss: ‘F*ck Points!’

A day on from his latest setback — his fourth in five fights since extending his then-undefeated record to 10-0 against Yoel Romero in 2019 — Costa addressed his UFC 302 performance in a video uploaded to X (formerly Twitter).

Many, including Strickland, were surprised to see the Brazilian on the back foot throughout Saturday’s co-headliner. And Costa evidently regrets that strategy, promising to bring back his violent, forward-pressuring style next time out.

“I just came to say a few words. Yeah, Sean won. I didn’t perform very well. I think he didn’t either, but at least he did enough to win, right? This is two losses in a row in three fights, three former champs — Luke Rockhold, (Robert) Whittaker, and Sean,” Costa said (h/t MMA Fighting). “I won one and lost two. But let me tell you something, I agree with Dana (White) and Joe Rogan, and I will do that — I will bring back the (old) Paulo to take heads off, to finish the fight. I’m not that kind of counter (fighter), sorry, I’m not that kind of counter guy. I do better (when I) move forward and try to finish and look for heads.

“Sean is so awkward, so different kind of fighter to fight against, it’s difficult. He was teeping me, keeping (away), pushing me, keep pushing me, keep me far from him, because he knows the power that I have. And I have the power, so I need to deliver that — and I will do that. I won’t give a f*ck. F*ck points or conserving energy or f*ck anything about that. I will come to take heads off,” Costa continued. “And this is who I am, this is the kind of fighter I am, and the fighter who people expect that I perform (as). So I will do that. F*ck points, I’ve (had) enough of this. Even the first round that I was 100 percent sure that I won, some people thought I lost. F*ck them. I will come to take heads off. That’s it, who I am.”

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It remains to be seen what lies in Costa’s future, but it stands to reason that he’ll be defending his #7 spot in the rankings next time out and will need to string together some wins if he’s to return to title contention.