Paulo Costa finally had his shot at the middleweight crown in September, but came up short against Israel Adesanya in Abu Dhabi, suffering his first MMA loss via second-round TKO at UFC 253.
“Borrachinha” and his team were campaigning for an immediate rematch right after, but now have turned their focus to a title eliminator clash with former champion Robert Whittaker since “The Last Stylebender” is moving up to light heavyweight to challenge Jan Blachowicz.
Costa went live on his YouTube channel on Tuesday night and said the Whittaker clash “is in the works.” Asked by a follower why he doesn’t use his jiu-jitsu more often in the octagon, he went to say he shouldn’t have entered the cage that day on Fight Island.
“Maybe I could have used more in the Adesanya fight, but many things happened before that fight,” Costa said. “I don’t like to talk because it might sound as excuse, but I had no sleep, my leg was totally impaired, and I shouldn’t have fought, I should have postponed it for the next weekend or more.”
“I saw what happened with Patricky (Freire), who fights for Bellator — and has the same coach, Eric Albarracin —, and his team did the right thing. He didn’t wake up well, had labyrinthitis on the day of the fight, feeling dizzy, (so) he doesn’t have to fight. We’re in such a high level that you don’t have to fight if you don’t feel well. It was our mistake.”
Costa still wants to face Adesanya in the UFC, and vows it would end differently this time.
“He’s an agile fighter, fast, but doesn’t convince me. He didn’t convince me,” Costa said of Adesanya. “It’s hard to say, I lost to him and won’t be right. I can say whatever I want and I won’t be right, it will sound salty, but, in reality, he doesn’t convince me. I can fight him 10 times and all 10 times will be different.”