Paulo Costa Refuses to Shift His Fight With Robert Whittaker Ahead by One Week

Published 02/15/2021, 4:16 PM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 27: (L-R) Paulo Costa of Brazil punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


Coming off a failed bid to capture the title, Paulo Costa has another tough fight at his hands. The Brazilian will go up against former champion Robert Whittaker. However, as per the latest reports, the date of the fight remains the bone of contention.

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Fight News Australia first reported that the UFC attempted to move the fight between Costa and Whittaker to one week ahead of the originally planned date of April 17. However, Costa reportedly turned down the revamped date and the opportunity to fight on ABC that would come with it. MMA Fighting later verified the news as well.
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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 27: Paulo Costa of Brazil enters the arena prior to facing Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
As of now, the event looks set to headline the ESPN+ show on April 17th. The weekend before that features another clash of top middleweights, as Darren Till and Marvin Vettori will collide inside the Octagon. Had Costa agreed to fight on the ABC card, he and Whittaker would’ve had the exposure to a much broader audience who would watch the fight on free to air television.

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Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa could be a potential number one contender fight

Whittaker and Costa sit at number one and two respectively on the divisional ladder. Both the Aussie and the Brazilian lost their last fight to the incumbent champion, Israel Adesanya. However, Whittaker has since then racked up a couple of wins over quality competition.
‘Bobby Knuckles’ defeated Darren Till in a striking chess match in July last year. He then followed it up with a dominant outing over Jared Cannonier at UFC 254.
Apart from his exploits inside the Octagon, Whittaker seems to be far removed from the fighter who suffered a burnout. ‘The Reaper’ looks much more comfortable in the lead up to his fights.

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Costa, on the other hand, is coming off a one-sided loss against ‘The Last Stylebender’ at UFC 253 last year. In a fight that UFC President Dana White hyped up as a potential ‘Fight of the Year’, Costa didn’t exactly show up. It was as if he froze inside the Octagon and looked a mere shadow of the fighter that he was in the past fights.
Even though the middleweight kingpin is on his quest to conquer the light heavyweight division, the fight between Costa and Whittaker carries a ton of value in the title picture. If Whittaker wins, it would be hard for the UFC to not give him his rematch with Adesanya.

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DIVE DEEPER
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Robert Whittaker and All His UFC Career Defeats

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Rishabh Singh

655 articles

Rishabh Singh is an MMA author at EssentiallySports since 2020. An engineer in the making, his love for combat sports began by watching Anderson Silva light people up inside the Octagon. When he isn't busy in his technical pursuits, he is an avid reader with a love for sports in general and sporting history in particular.

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