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Paulo Costa ‘didn’t earn the right’ to make weight demands like Nick Diaz, says Dan Hooker

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The ‘Hangman’ wasn’t a fan of Paulo Costa’s power play heading into his headlining bout with Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 41 last week.

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Coming out of UFC Vegas 41, Paulo Costa claimed he had an explanation for why he ultimately needed his fight against Marvin Vettori moved up 20 lbs above its contracted weight during fight week. And, to his credit, he provided one. Whether or not it’s to be believed is an entirely different situation.

“I had some problems to not come in here with my usual weight. I came at a little bit higher weight because I needed to stop some weeks of training,” Costa told the assembled media after his loss, explaining that a left bicep injury had been the source of his trouble.

If that’s his explanation, Marvin Vettori isn’t buying it. And, for his part, it doesn’t sound like top ranked lightweight Dan Hooker is picking up what ‘Borrachinha’ is putting down either. The ‘Hangman’ stopped by Submission Radio for an interview ahead of his UFC 267 bout against Islam Makhachev, where he offered his two cents on Costa’s fight week antics.

“What Costa did, he didn’t earn the right to do that,” Hooker explained. “It was a funny situation because it was only what, a couple of weeks ago that we let Nick Diaz roll up and do it. But Paulo Costa hadn’t done for the sport what Nick Diaz had done, but obviously same result, he got the weight class changed entirely. So I don’t know, it’s kind of funny, like a bit of a power play. But it’s not for me, it’s not like the Anzac culture of the sport.

“That would never happen, something like that in New Zealand or Australia. I feel like if you just showed up to a local kickboxing show with your fighter 10 kilos (approx. 22 pounds) overweight and you were like, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I feel like you’d get beaten up in the car park. It’s just a sign of respect. That’s all it is. It’s a matter of respect. I show up on weight as a respect for my opponent, as a respect for my gym, as a respect for representing who I represent. It’s a sign of respect to the fans, it’s a sign of respect to the promotion. It’s absolutely everything. So it absolutely is what it is. Him coming out like that is just a massive ‘F you’ to the fans, ‘F you’ to the UFC, ‘F you’ to his opponent.”

As a result of Costa’s insistence on moving the fight to light heavyweight, UFC President Dana White has said that Costa will now be competing in that division permanently.

“He’s going to have to fight at 205,” White explained during the post-event presser. “He’s a light heavyweight. You guys saw him tonight. He’s massive. He can’t make ‘85. It just goes to show you that he cannot make 185 lbs.”

After all, as Vettori himself pointed out when asked about Costa’s injury, “can’t you run with a bicep tear to make weight?”

No word yet as to just what might be next for the Brazilian, but whatever it is it seems practically assured that it’ll be taking place in a whole new division against a whole new class of contenders.

Hooker vs. Makhachev takes place on the main card of UFC 267, airing this Saturday on ESPN+ as a non-PPV event. The card is set to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. An interim bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen is booked for the co-main event.