UFC middleweight contender Derek Brunson explained why he called out Paulo Costa following his win over Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22.
Brunson won a unanimous decision over Holland in Saturday’s headliner. The 37-year-old veteran was able to take Holland down at will and control him on the mat for a dominant victory. Following the win, which was Brunson’s fourth straight victory at 185lbs, he called out the top contender Costa for a future fight. Costa was recently removed from a matchup against Robert Whittaker on April 17 and replaced by Kelvin Gastelum after the Brazilian pulled out due to illness. Once he feels better, Brunson is hoping the UFC books the fight.
Speaking to the media following UFC Vegas 22, Brunson explained why he called out Costa.
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“Asking for guys like Paulo Costa. I was cool with a Robert Whittaker rematch. I want all these top guys that are really going elevate me, you know? So this was a fight where I had to hold serve, you know? I want a guy, you know, that’s really going to elevate me so I can get a title for it, and really feel like this is the fight for me, I really need to put her down,” Brunson said.
With the win over Holland, Brunson has now won four straight fights at 185lbs, with wins over top-15 ranked fighters in Holland, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Ian Heinisch among his winning streak. Brunson has been in the UFC for a decade now but has always been a gatekeeper at middleweight and just outside the edge of contention. Based on how good he’s looked lately, it feels like it’s time for Brunson to get a top-10 ranked opponent. If Costa is available in a few months, perhaps this is the fight that the UFC should book next.
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