It is official: Paulo Costa is staying at middleweight.
The No. 5 ranked contender was nearly ousted from the division following his most recent appearance against Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 41 this past October. The fight between Costa and Vettori was initially supposed to be contested at 185 pounds but would instead happen at 205 pounds after the Brazilian admitted he would be unable to make weight.
Because of the weight drama during fight week, UFC president Dana White said Costa would be competing at light heavyweight going forward, which ‘Borrachinha’ rejected. His manager — Wallid Ismail — said that he would speak to White about allowing Costa to continue his career at middleweight, and it appears as though the talk went well.
Ismail recently shared with Marcelo Alonso of Sherdog that his client will indeed fight again at his original weight class.
“The UFC is not the biggest fighting company in the world by chance,” said Ismail (via Sherdog). “They know that ‘Borrachinha’ was injured and that’s why he had problems with his weight. There is no doubt his next fight will take place in the middleweight division.”
Ismail also said that Costa does not have an opponent set for his return, but will be willing to meet whoever the promotion offers. The one-time title challenger is winless in his past two outings, dropping a unanimous decision to Vettori and suffering a second-round technical knockout loss to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
“We will fight whoever the UFC decides. I keep believing that ‘Borrachinha’ will be the champion,” Ismail said. “He just has to train right. His biggest problem is that he trains too much. If he trains correctly, I have no doubt no one in that division can beat him.”
Prior to those losses, Costa was unbeaten as a professional and earned wins over notable names such as Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall and Yoel Romero.