Paulo Costa remains resolute about his upcoming Octagon appearance at UFC 294, even after undergoing elbow surgery just three weeks ago.
On the 21st of October, Costa is slated for a potential middleweight title eliminator match against the undefeated Chechen powerhouse Khamzat Chimaev in Abu Dhabi. But the bout now seems to be in doubt after Costa had elbow surgery after getting an infection.
Costa is currently on the road to recovery and recently made a guest appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to provide an update on his highly anticipated clash with Chimaev.
Costa affirmed, “I just came to let the fans know that I’m ready to fight. I did not ask the UFC for anything. The UFC is doing their job very good. They’re supporting me a lot.”
“They didn’t mention anything about removing me from the fight. I’ve heard nothing about this. I know you have a big audience so I felt it was important to reach out to everyone on your show.”
While the build-up between Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev has been relatively subdued, it took an unexpected turn earlier this week. Costa disclosed that Chimaev had sent messages to Costa’s girlfriend, ridiculing the former UFC title contender and questioning her choice to be with him.
Costa’s coach Eric Albarracin vehemently objected to the comments directed at Costa’s future wife. During his appearance on The MMA Hour with Costa, he went on to say.
He said: “We’ve been in Abu Dhabi for a month and this is the biggest fight in the history of the UAE. And let me tell you, I tried to take the high ground because Dominick Cruz… As you know, Aljamain [Sterling] brought it up on your show, confronted me about hyping up fights for my fighters.”
“But Khamzat has stepped over the line by DM’ing Paulo’s manager and future wife about Israel’s vulgar act against Paulo and I disapprove 100% and he has awakened the Paul Heyman in the captain.”
He continued: “Paulo’s going to beat you in Etihad Arena that your king owns. This isn’t the first time Paulo’s been thrown to the wolves.”
“The UFC threw him to Johny Hendricks, former NCAA Division I champion. They threw him against Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero. You fought former UFC champion Luke Rockhold, and every time they threw him to the wolves, he’s become the leader of the pack.”
Albarracin also issued a WWE-style challenge to Chimaev, proposing that the victor at UFC 294 advances to a middleweight title showdown with the reigning champion while the loser departs the UAE for good.
Could we witness the first Loser Leaves Town Match within the Octagon at UFC 294? Probably not. Yet, Albarracin exudes unwavering confidence in Paulo Costa’s ability to defeat Khamzat Chimaev, even with only one functional arm.
He stated: “Even with one arm behind his back, it’s not Paulo locked in a cage with ‘The Wolf.’ It’s Khamzat who will be locked in a cage with Paulo.”