Even though he’s currently competing for the biggest organization in MMA, Paulo Costa isn’t happy with some of the choices he’s made during his career.
The 31-year-old was last seen in the Octagon when former champion Luke Rockhold rubbed blood all over the Brazilian’s face and promptly retired after Costa won a unanimous decision.
That win snapped the first losing run of Costa’s career, who had his undefeated record broken when he challenged Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title in 2020 before dropping a decision to Marvin Vettori in 2021.
“The Eraser” is currently scheduled to face another former middleweight title holder at UFC 284 when he meets Robert Whittaker, which is a fight that will also be the final bout on his current UFC contract.
On a recent episode of Submission Radio, the Brazilian was asked if he intended to stay with the UFC after finishing his contract at UFC 284. Costa responded with a suggestion that plenty of MMA fighters have voiced, but few have actually followed through on.
“You know, UFC is a very good company,” Costa said. “It’s the biggest one of MMA. It depends. It depends on the terms. You can see a lot of good opportunities in the fight sports. You have boxing. Boxing is a great thing going on right now — a lot of big names. So it makes a lot of sense to me…”
After appearing on Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, “The Eraser” rattled off five-straight stoppage wins that earned him a spot in the UFC in 2017.
The Brazilian continued running through opponents in the UFC until he won a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero in 2019, which led to a shot at the middleweight title the following year where he was stopped by Adesanya.
Even without winning the title, Costa’s career has already been significantly more successful than the vast majority of fighters that get into the sport. As much as he loves MMA, “The Eraser” understands that being a successful fighter doesn’t always translate to making a significant amount of money.Costa challenged for the UFC middleweight title in 2020. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
“Because MMA’s so hard. You need to train a lot…and the payment, at least (in) my case, (is) not worth this work. I love MMA. MMA bring me (here). I’m so grateful. But sometimes you need to pay bills, bro. You need to look for your future. I think the big mistake of my career was (signing) the deal (in) 2007 (for) so long for so (little) money. I didn’t sign a smart deal. But it was part (my) fault and (partly) the fault of my management at the time. So I’m trying to fix that.”
Costa’s bout with Whittaker at UFC 284 will serve as the final fight before a pair of title bouts at the top of the card.
Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will meet for the interim featherweight title in the UFC 284 co-main event, while the main event features UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski challenging the newly-crowned lightweight king Islam Makhachev in a bid for a second title.
What do you think of Costa’s comments about signing a bad deal earlier in his career?
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