What’s next for Paulo Costa after UFC 298?

MMA: UFC 298-Whittaker vs Costa
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 298, we saw an absolute banger in the middleweight division. Former title challenger Paulo Costa (14-3) was fighting for the first time since 2022 as he took on former champion Robert Whittaker (25-7).

This matchup had a ton of hype and it didn’t disappoint. From the opening bell, both of these men were swinging heavy shots at each other. Whittaker was doing a better job of using volume and leg kicks that kept Costa from pushing too hard. However, at the end of the first, Costa rocked Whittaker bad with a spinning kick to the head.

Whittaker was saved by the bell there. Throughout the next two rounds, Costa had his moments, but the story was Whittaker with his speed and volume. It just felt like he was consistently landing more and that’s what the judges saw. All three judges gave the fight and the decision at UFC 298 to Robert Whittaker.

What’s next after UFC 298?

While it’s a losing effort overall, I was very pleased with what I saw from Paulo Costa. He looked great physically and his shots looked fast and powerful. He just wasn’t landing as cleanly as Whittaker but it’s important to remember that Whittaker is still one of the very best in the world.

From here, I just want to see Costa be more active. I think if he can stay active and fight regularly, he can definitely reach the title picture again. So, what should the UFC do in terms of Costa’s next fight? In looking at the middleweight division, I wouldn’t mind him facing someone like Jared Cannonier or maybe even someone from the Brendan Allen / Marvin Vettori fight.

Vettori and him had a shootout and I don’t think anyone would mind seeing a rematch. Cannonier and Costa would be fireworks as well. Perhaps they could even revisit the Khamzat Chimaev fight. At the end of the day, they just need him to be active and I think the UFC will try to get him back in the octagon over the summer.

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