When Paulo Costa defeated Yoel Romero in August of 2019, the expectation was that he’d get the next crack at UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Unfortunately for Costa, an injury derailed this plan, and Romero was granted the next title shot while Costa recovers.
While the title fight between Adesanya and Romero is already official for UFC 248 on March 7, Costa has seemingly been on the mend faster than expected, and is even back to training.
UFC President Dana White thinks that’s a bad idea.
Speaking at the post-fight press conference for Saturday’s UFC 246 card in Las Vegas, White scolded Costa for rushing his return to training and urged him to slow down.
“Costa is in this big rush,” White said (via MMA Fighting). “We’re watching his Instagram the other day, and the guy is working out like he’s training for a fight right now. You shouldn’t be doing that when you just got done with surgery, and they are saying now you’ll be ready for June.
“He shouldn’t be training like that. You know what happens when you do that? You get hurt again. He needs to pump the brakes and slow down, make sure he’s 100 percent and doesn’t get hurt again, and then we can do that fight after Romero.”
White added that his plan is to “do the Costa fight after,” Adesanya and Romero battle for gold at UFC 248. Costa, however, is worried Romero might spoil his long-awaited grudge match with Adesanya.
“He might win, but he might lose,” Costa told MMA Fighting recently. “And if he loses, he’s back to being a nobody again. No longer undefeated, no longer the champion, and he misses the opportunity of making millions in a fight against me. Simple.”
What do you think the year 2020 holds for Paulo Costa?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/21/2020.