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Paulo Costa wants champ-champ status

  • Paulo Costa is already planning a change of divisions but wants both belts.
  • There's a race to see who gets Jon Jones first between two middleweights now.
ANALYST
News
Modified 03 May 2020, 06:26 IST

Paulo Costa
Paulo Costa

"The Eraser", Paulo Costa is looking to erase two of the best champions ever in the UFC. The Brazilian middleweight, while being interviewed recently admitted that getting to 185 is a bit tough. And in fairness, he is a big middleweight.

Costa does want to stick around long enough to hang the first MMA loss around Israel Adesanya's neck though. Taking his middleweight title in the process. But once that objective is achieved, Costa wants to move up to light heavyweight. He was hoping to get the fight with Israel this summer but with the current global situation, it's unknown if that time table will work. However with the company needing as much money as possible and fast, it gives it a glimmer of hope. With both fighters belonging outside of the United States, it could very well headline the first "Fight Island" card; if there is a fight island, of course, since the plan is for the international fighters to fight there.

Costa has the light heavyweight title on his radar as well

After that, the heavy hitting 29-year-old wants to make the jump to the light heavyweight division and he has already put Jon Jones on notice. He said he won't need the "two years" Israel needs. The only issue with that is he doesn't have near the gas tank that Jon has, let alone Israel. To his credit though, Costa has dangerous power in both hands and to be honest, isn't the worst on the ground. He is the typical home run hitter. If he doesn't get you early, he doesn't get you.

Costa started his career with nine first round finishes, followed by three 2nd rounders, before going the distance with Yoel Romero. Adesanya, Jones, and anyone else he'd face at 205 are more seasoned. And in almost every case have better gas tanks.

In the past, when middleweights make the leap up to 205, it's been a 50-50 success rate. While guys like Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman struggled, fighters like Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes have flourished.

Yes, Jon is not as fast as he was at 21, but now he relies more on a game plan than just talent; despite the argument that he in theory didn't win his last 2 fights plus the Gustafsson fight. Are there holes in his game? Sure, everyone has them but they are ever so microscopic in the case of 'Bones'. But to think you can waltz into 205 and grab, in many people's eyes the GOAT's belt, is a bit far-fetched. Especially since many have tried, and all have failed.

Along with the semi crowded top of the light heavyweight division, Jon now has to keep an eye on middleweights coming up. And between them all Israel probably has the best chance to take him. Of course that's outside of Reyes and Santos. Costa's making the smart move body and health wise with a move up. But he'll need some time of seasoning to deal with the bigger guys. Even someone like Corey Anderson, given his wrestling skills can work him hard on the mat.

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If he's unable to defeat Adesanya it would be interesting to see if he sticks around there to regroup, or just make the move up. Plus if Israel makes the leap as well they could always run it back a division higher. The other thing Costa has to realize is just how much harder things will get for him now that he's swimming in the deep end of the pool.

So while it's great to shoot for the stars, sometimes you have to do what famed radio dj Casey Kasem used to say and "keep your feet on the ground".


Published 03 May 2020, 06:26 IST
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