Former UFC middleweight title challenger, Paulo Costa is chomping at the bit for a continued stint in the division despite weight issues marring his last outing in November. And appears to welcome the easing of a log-jam in the division – calling for a matchup against his fellow #4 ranked challenger, Derek Brunson.
Slumping to his second consecutive defeat last time out, Paulo Costa, a career middleweight, forced an eventual light heavyweight main event against fellow one-time title challenger, Mavin Vettori during fight week proceedings, eventually dropping a unanimous decision loss in an entertaining back-and-forth.
The defeat came as Costa, a native of Belo Horizonte’s second professionally, after he lost his undefeated record opposite Israel Adesanya in his premier middleweight title siege back in September 2020 by way of second round knockout.
Paulo Costa had enjoyed a five-fight winning spree in the UFC prior to his loss against Israel Adesanya
Costa most recently fell to a blemish against Trento native, Vettori saw him slide to #4 in the official middleweight pile – where, albeit bizarrely, he is joined by fellow contenders, Sean Strickland, and the above mentioned, Brunson.
North Carolina native Brunson saw his impressive run through division contenders halted back in February at UFC 271, suffering a second round ground strikes loss to expected next title challenger, Jared Cannonier.
Welcoming a middleweight stay, despite intentions from the UFC and promotional leader, Dana White to book Costa at the light heavyweight limit in the future, Costa called for a matchup against Brunson next – claiming Strickland refused to fight him already.
“Now it’s time to (sic) Derek Brunson runway (sic) or accept,” Paulo Costa tweeted. “Sean (Strickland) gave up. (Derek) Brunson?”
While Strickland has been accused of avoiding a fight with Costa by the Brazilian, the surging, outspoken contender has since agreed to meet with Costa’s compatriot, Sao Paulo striking maestro, Alex Pereira in a high-stakes UFC 277 showdown in July.
Yet to book a return since his second round loss to Cannonier, veteran division staple, Brunson revealed during fight week ahead of UFC 271, that regardless of result, he would only fight once more professionally, beyond his clash with Cannonier.