Flashback to the end of 2019, Paulo Costa was one of the UFC's brightest prospects after putting on a 'Fight of the Year' contender against Yoel Romero. However, he is now firmly off the hype train and has drawn the ire of UFC president Dana White.
The following list details three of the key reasons why Paulo Costa's stock has dropped within the UFC.
#3 Complete domination by Adesanya
In 2020, Paulo Costa fought himself to a shot at the middleweight belt. A dramatic third-round war with Yoel Romero had essentially guaranteed it. Costa began a heated rivalry with the champion, Israel Adesanya, with the two men repeatedly going back and forth on social media and interviews.
Things escalated when the two men met face to face at the weigh-ins, as Costa attempted to give Adesanya a white belt, mocking the champion's BJJ credentials. The excitement for the bout continued to increase, primarily because Costa's aggressive style should have posed a new question that Adesanya had not yet answered inside the octagon.
Instead, despite all the trash talk and supposed bad blood, Costa barely threw a strike in the entire first round as Adesanya continually picked him off at range. When the second round came about, Paulo Costa continued to receive punishment until Adesanya knocked him out cold.
#2 Too much Pinot for Paulo
While the knockout loss to Adesanya was bad, it pales in comparison to Costa's excuse for why he lost. According to the Brazilian, he had been suffering from leg cramps the night before the fight took place, likely a product of over-training.
However, it is the countermeasures that Costa supposedly took which defy belief. Rather than seek medical help, Costa took it upon himself to drink an entire bottle of wine to dull the pain. According to Costa, this led to him entering the fight half-drunk and/or hungover; a shocking excuse.
#1 Paulo Costa's criticism of UFC fighter pay
If there's one thing the UFC and Dana White dislike in a fighter, it is any level of criticism regarding the organization's pay structure. Costa has recently caused a stir in the MMA community by stating that the UFC announced a fight between him and Jared Cannonier without ever agreeing to Costa's payment.
As per MMA Mania, Costa stated the following on social media:
“Less than $350k is a joke. UFC needs to pay me as main fighter to have fighting in main events. YouTubers are showing all disgrace on this business. Just to be clear. I never signed or locked up that contract. Why UFC announced this fight if didn’t signed? My question too.”
Dana White has since responded; speaking with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter he said:
"He's [Paulo Costa] under contract. I’m supposed to let people out of their contract just because they’re mad that YouTube kid is fighting and making money? You should be happy for the kid, good for him. He put himself in a position to where he was able to fight Floyd Mayweather and make a bunch of money. You’re mad? You just came off a ridiculous, horrible performance. Come back and put yourself in a position to do something big.”
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