Paulo Costa took part in a fight of the year candidate at UFC 241, coming out on top in an all-out war against Yoel Romero and positioning himself at the top of the title picture.
Anaheim, CA – Paulo Costa went toe-to-toe with Yoel Romero and came out on top, which is something only Robert Whittaker can say (as far as UFC fighters go). Now coming out of UFC 241, Costa proved he belongs in the title picture.
“I feel very happy because I showed everybody around the world how tough I am. I beat Yoel Romero, who for me is one of the best fighters in the world and the toughest guy in the division, after me now, of course. I beat him and I’m happy.”
Costa is a finishing machine, but couldn’t put Romero away in this one. He described one point in the fight where he believed he had a shot to do so.
“My gameplan was to pressure him all the time from the first second to the last second of the fight. I did this. The second round, I felt that he was more tired and I tried to finish the fight but he poked his finger in my eye and my vision was blown and I needed to stop the fight. I think he had the time to recover and come back with more gas for the fight. I couldn’t knock him out. I guess I could have knocked him out in the first or second round but that did not happen.”
The signature moment of the fight came in the first minute, when both fighters scored knockdowns in quick succession.
“I felt his hand. It’s funny because I punched his head, he got hurt, then he pointed like, ‘look at this,’ then I looked for him again and he punched my face. I got knocked down and came back.”
With Costa’s statue-like physique comes questions of cardio. However, the Brazilian assured that his training has prepared him for everything necessary.
“It’s not new to me to fight three rounds, four rounds, because I do this at my gym every week. We did three spars per week for three months every week. Four rounds with four different guys. I’m in the middle and four different fighters sparred with me. It’s not new to me. I can do three rounds, four rounds, five rounds, at high intensity. I’m used to it.”
Robert Whittaker has had health issues in the past so the topic of being a back-up at UFC 243 was brought up to Costa. He vehemently shot down the idea.
“No no no. Not a back-up. I train too hard to be a back-up. I train so hard. I need to confirm the fight. I need to confirm the fight to do my camp. My camp is wild. It’s jungle wild. I forgot to say it in the Octagon, but I broke my wrist this year. I broke two ribs during this camp. I had my bicep tear. This is crazy. I bring nine fighters to spar with me. All guys go back home with injuries because it’s a wild training camp. I cannot be a back-up. I need to confirm the fight to make my camp.”
As far as his opinion on Whittaker vs. Adesanya, Costa would prefer if the challenger won, but believes the champion will defend his belt.
“I think they both are looking to me scared. Both guys know now that they have a very tough guy looking for them. I think Whittaker will beat Adesanya. But for me, I beat Romero, and for me, Romero won against Robert Whittaker. But if Adesanya won and took the belt, man, I can kill that guy. He’s very skinny. He doesn’t have a chance against me. It’s personal with Adesanya but I think he will lose.”
Check out the rest of Paulo Costa’s UFC 241 scrum above!