Following UFC Vegas 41 Main Event, Dana White Says Paulo Costa Will Stay at 205

Dana White, UFC 259 presser
Dana White, UFC 259 pre-fight press conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

While Paulo Costa may still consider himself a middleweight, UFC President Dana White says he’ll be required to stick around the light heavyweight division.

Costa came into the UFC Vegas 41 fight week heavy, resulting in his main event fight with Marvin Vettori being bumped up to 205lbs on short notice. Traditionally, the promotion allows fighters to choose their weight class, but in exceptional circumstances, they will put their foot down.

Costa’s case would seem to fall in that category. “We absolutely tell you where to fight when this happens,” White said during Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “He’s going to have to fight at 205.”

Later, White would observe that “he’s a light heavyweight. I mean you guys saw him tonight, he’s massive. And the thing that stood out the most for me is, as big as he is, look at the cardio that he had tonight. That was a f*cking dogfight, that was a war between two guys who both really wanted to win. And in the fifth round, he came out and went after Vettori. The kicks that he threw to the body, the body shots, the head kicks, he tried to finish the fight in the fifth round. He was in shape.”

White believes, simply, that Costa can’t make 185lbs.

Vettori wound up winning the fight via unanimous decision, in essence nullifying some of the concern that Costa would have an unfair advantage. Still, White noted that while Vettori weighed 208 pounds on fight night, Costa had ballooned up to 220. With all that had happened over the past few days, White also gave plenty of praise to the Italian.

“Vettori acted like an absolute professional, stud, a guy that’s incredible to work with this week,” said White. “That’s why this fight happened.”

The UFC President also stated he had no idea why Costa came in so heavy. “No. I mean, your guess is as good as mine. We don’t know. Came in, and did what he did,” White stated. “But, with that being said, the guy fought his ass off tonight. At the end of the first round, I didn’t know if he was going to make it to the end of the second round, as far as gas. But he fought his ass of tonight. He showed up and fought hard.”

White confirmed previous reports that there had initially been an agreement for a 195lb catchweight. “We started at 185 and worked all the way up to 205.” Again, White added, “you have to give all the credit to Vettori. This guy was willing to fight at any weight, and he didn’t let any of this stuff mess with his head. At the end of the day, it’s all about the fight; they both fought their ass off.”