Paulo Costa’s UFC future is not clear

Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Uriah Hall (red gloves) fights Paulo Costa (blue gloves) during UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In the UFC, it’s truly crazy how quickly things can turn around. Just a couple of years ago, it was looking like Paulo Costa (13-2) was going to eventually become the middleweight champion of the world.

The Brazilian is a massive middleweight who fights with a ferocity that overwhelmed most opponents. Throughout his first thirteen professional fights, nobody could stop Costa from running through them.

After he defeated Yoel Romero, the UFC gave him his crack at the middleweight title in September of 2020. Costa took on Israel Adesanya on Fight Island, and I have to be honest, at the time I picked Costa.

I saw how Kelvin Gastelum gave Adesanya trouble, and I figured Costa was more powerful and fought with more pressure. For that reason, I actually thought he had a good chance to become UFC middleweight champion. Boy, was I wrong.

Adesanya completely destroyed Costa in an odd fight that saw Costa get stopped in the second round. After the fight, Costa vocalized a number of excuses including drinking bottles of wine to help him sleep the night before his title fight at UFC 253.

What’s next for Costa in the UFC?

Costa took some time away before agreeing to a fight against former champion Robert Whittaker in the spring. However, Costa never signed his agreement and stated that he wanted more money from the promotion.

Of course, this is something Dana White openly mocked given the way Costa fought against Adesanya. Eventually, Costa signed a bout agreement to fight Marvin Vettori at middleweight last October.

However, things went wrong as soon as the week started. Costa showed up and openly stated he wouldn’t make weight for his UFC fight with Vettori. Ultimately, Vettori agreed to face Costa at 205 and Vettori won a decision.

Now, Costa has one fight left on his UFC deal, but he’s having trouble finding an opponent. Nobody at middleweight, outside of Luke Rockhold, seems to be interested in fighting him. Costa also recently told Ag.Fight that he’s interested in pursuing boxing.

My guess is that Costa is going to eventually be released or he’s going to leave the UFC after his next fight. I think given everything that’s happened over the last year and change shows that Costa and the UFC is not a marriage meant to last.

Who do you think Costa faces next if he fights again?