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Paulo Costa wants fight against Derek Brunson next: Run away or accept

Costa has officially moved on from either a rematch with Marvin Vettori or a meeting with Sean Strickland and would now like Brunson next. 

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Paulo Costa wanted a fight against Marvin Vettori or Sean Strickland, but ‘Borrachinha’ has since shifted his focus to someone else.

Though Costa previously mentioned he was only interested in a rematch with Vettori for his next appearance, that option became unavailable as soon as the ‘Italian Dream’ was booked against Robert Whittaker at UFC 275 in June. The Brazilian then moved on to Sean Strickland, who he went back-and-forth with on social media over a potential fight, which also fizzled out after ‘Tarzan’ verbally agreed to share the Octagon with Alex Pereira at UFC 277 in July.

With Vettori and Strickland out, Costa has decided to go after Derek Brunson. He took to Twitter on Tuesday and challenged his fellow contender, who he is currently tied with in the official middleweight rankings.

“Now it’s time to Derek Brunson runway [sic] or accept. Sean gave up. Brunson?,” wrote Costa.

Costa and Brunson have traded barbs before on social media, but a fight between them has never materialized. Because of their shared history, Costa and Carlos Borracha — his brother and head coach — believe now is the time to book it.

“Strickland challenged ‘Borrachinha’ a long time ago, [but] when he accepted, Strickland ran from us and they ended up giving him to ‘Poatan,’” Borracha told Leonardo Fabri of PVT (h/t Marcelo Alonso of Sherdog). “Strickland chickened out, but we have other ranked fighters in our target like Brunson.

“We truly hope Brunson keeps his word and doesn’t run like Strickland did,” continued Borracha. “Actually, Brunson already challenged ‘Borrachinha,’ and now it’s the best time for that fight to happen.”

Brunson has not responded to Costa yet. The 38-year-old recently had a solid five-fight win streak snapped at UFC 271, where he was finished by Jared Cannonier via second-round knockout this past February.