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Paulo Costa fighting out contract, expects to finish Luke Rockhold ‘quickly’ at UFC 278

The Brazilian expects to return to the win column with a finish of Rockhold on Saturday. 

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Paulo Costa is on the final fight of his UFC contract, and he expects to complete it with a finish of Luke Rockhold at UFC 278.

The Brazilian enters the fight on a two-fight skid, having suffered consecutive losses to reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and No. 3 middleweight contender Marvin Vettori (in a light heavyweight bout). Given that this could be his final appearance in the Octagon, it could be awfully important for the Fight Ready talent to get back to his winning ways to maximize his free agency value.

There are a few options for Costa to consider upon the completion of his contract. He could re-sign with the promotion, test free agency or pursue other ventures such as boxing. Open to all of them, ‘Borrachinha’ remains undecided on what comes next for him after Saturday.

“Let’s see,” said Costa when asked if he would leave the UFC (video provided by MMA Fighting). “We need to talk [with the UFC]. It’s a business. It’s just business for the UFC and for me. We need to talk.”

Before he can sit down and speak with the UFC, Costa has to get through Rockhold first. The former UFC middleweight champion has not fought in over three years following his second-round KO loss to Jan Blachowicz. Considering that was his second straight knockout, concerns over his durability have begun to chase him. However, Rockhold has made it clear that he wanted a challenge in his return and set his sights on Costa, one of the most heavy-handed fighters in the division.

Though confident he can get Rockhold out early, Costa is also ready for a back-and-forth affair.

“I prepare for a war, but I really don’t believe he can hang with me,” said Costa. “I think this fight will finish quickly, but I don’t care. If he could, in some way, hold his [own] and bring a war, I’m ready.”

UFC 278 is headlined by a welterweight championship fight between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards.