Paulo Costa Expects to Show 'Better Version of Myself' at UFC 298

UFC
February 15, 2024
It’s been approximately a year and a half since Paulo Costa last competed under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner, but that doesn’t mean “Borrachinha” has been stagnant in his development.

Costa will face former middleweight champ Robert Whittaker in the UFC 298 co-main event on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. It will be his first appearance since he defeated Luke Rockhold via unanimous decision at UFC 278 in August 2022. In the meantime, the Brazilian was sidelined by a combination of prolonged negotiations with the promotion and injury. Costa notably lost a high-profile booking against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 this past October when he was forced to pull out of the event due to an infection in his elbow.

“I tried really hard to keep the fight, but doctors don’t allow me to keep the fight,” Costa said during UFC 298 media day. “Right after that, I just tried to be healthy and in shape to fight as soon as I could.”

The good news for Costa is that he believes he made significant progress during his camp for Chimaev, and he will be able to show that against Whittaker on Saturday night.

“It’s really hard because the feelling is like I did 99% of the job, and I could not finish and show everyone my improvements,” he said. “But the improvement has been done. I achieved some upgrades as I was training really hard for wrestlers. I could say my wrestling skill set changed for the better … You guys are going to see a new version of myself, a better version of myself.”

The middleweight division has been wide open in recent months, with the title changing hands each of the last four times it was on the line. According to Costa, that’s a testament to the talent that resides in the UFC at 185 pounds.

“This is a tough division, maybe one of the hardest,” Costa said. “That’s good. I like that. It’s like a refresh for the entire division.”

Costa said he didn’t spend too much time reviewing Whittaker’s most recent effort, a technical knockout loss to current champ Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290. The Brazilian does hope that he’s getting the same Whittaker that has been a fixture near the top of the division for years.

“He’s a former champ, “ Costa said. “I just hope his best days have not gone because I want to put his name on my record as a good name that I beat.”

If Costa does defeat Whittaker at UFC 298, he believes that will be enough to elevate him to the No. 1 contender spot in the middleweight division.

“I don’t see [any] other way different than going straight for the belt after beating Whittaker Saturday. I have no other way to go,” Costa said. “I think after beating him, when you look at the whole division, you have a popular guy who fights the way people want to see, who people to see, it’s me. So beating him, I will be the next in line.”


Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Paulo-Costa-Expects-to-Show-Better-Version-of-Myself-at-UFC-298-192622

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