Paulo Costa came through a tricky, and bloody, bout against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 to earn another win in the Octagon. He won the bout by unanimous decision and scored a Fight of the Night bonus for his trouble.
Yesterday, while appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Costa admitted that he thought his fight with Rockhold was the final bout on his UFC contract. Apparently, that’s not the case and ‘Borrachinha’ has one fight left on his current deal.
With Helwani, the Brazilian said he was eager to get that fight over with so he can test free agency.
“I have one more, I didn’t know, I thought this was the last one but I have one more,” he said (ht bjpenn). “I’m looking forward to being a free agent for sure, I will not lie to you. I’d (thought) this was the last one of this contract.”
“I’m on a high, high level, fighting the best of this division and my contract is too old,” he continued. “When I fought Marvin Vettori, I got $35,000. $35,000. For this one was a couple more, a couple more, I got the win bonus, and because when I fought Marvin Vettori, I got a 20% reduction.”
That reduction means Costa’s show money for the Vettori fight was around $45,000. He forfeited 20 percent of his purse due to his inability to make the middleweight limit of 186 lbs. Initially his fight with Vettori was made a catchweight, but after Costa informed the UFC he couldn’t make that agreed upon weight the fight was converted to a light heavyweight match-up. Costa lost the fight by unanimous decision.
Costa vs. Vettori headlined UFC Vegas 41 on October 23 last year. The event, which aired on ESPN+, didn’t feature any other ranked fighters outside of Costa and Vettori.
“I need to talk with them and see,” said Costa of potential negotiations with the UFC. “I’m not rushing up to see, but we need to see, we need to figure it out. I’m not happy with the current contract, of course.”
Costa joined the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. He made his pro UFC debut at UFC Fortaleza in 2017. After running through his first few opponents, including Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall, Costa was matched up with Yoel Romero in 2019.
Costa beat Romero in a wild Fight of the Night winning contest to earn a UFC middleweight title shot against Israel Adesanya.
He was well beaten by Adesanya at UFC 253 in 2020, losing via second round TKO. The Vettori fight followed that defeat.
The win over Rockhold this past weekend advanced Costa’s pro record to 14-2.