The UFC wants heavy-hitters Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero fighting in New York on Nov. 3, but the middleweight bout is not a done deal despite the company’s official announcement.
Romero, who recently underwent surgery after losing a close split decision to middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in June, has yet to agree to the fight, but Costa is confident he eventually will.
”I’ve signed the contract, it’s on for me,” Costa told MMA Fighting. “He has his contract already, he’s just needs to get up the courage and sign it. But he will sign it. He doesn’t have anyone else to fight.”
The undefeated Brazilian was hoping to face former champion Chris Weidman after defeating Uriah Hall earlier this month, but sees Romero as a much bigger fight for him.
”I really liked the fact that they chose Romero. It couldn’t be better,” Costa said. “He’s the No. 1 in the rankings. Let’s do this, let’s get closer to the belt. This is the final step to the belt. I was asking for Weidman, but I didn’t really shoot for the moon. I asked for Weidman, but the UFC thought big and gave me Romero instead. It’s way better. I’m happy. It couldn’t be better.”
”I’ll get to the fight and impose my aggressive and brutal rhythm, going for the kill,” he continued. “Every strike will be a bomb. I’m confident. I’ll going there for a brutal finish, as always. This is how I see myself winning.”
Romero was considering a move to the light heavyweight division after his second loss to Whittaker, especially after coming in heavy for his last couple of fights. Yet, Romero’s weight issues doesn’t bother Costa.
In fact, the Brazilian is happy with the possibility of making extra money at Madison Square Garden.
”The fact that he has trouble make weight cheers me up,” Costa said. “It’s 20 percent more going to my pocket. Everything I want is him to miss weight. Get there heavy and give me my 20 or 30 percent. Thirty is even better. That’s all I want. Yoel Romero, eat a lot and get there heavy, please. I want your 30 percent.”
Whittaker is currently recovering from an injury and is expected to put his 185-pound title on the line against Kelvin Gastelum in 2019, after both coach an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.
”I didn’t like the Whittaker and Romero fight,” Costa said. “I thought to myself, if I were in that cage I would have knocked out both of them because they had the opportunity to connect clean strikes in the face and no one went down. If it was me, I would have knocked them out way sooner. It wouldn’t even get to the third round.”
“The Eraser” thinks he’s next for the belt with a win over “Soldier of God” in New York, but wouldn’t rule out fighting the winner of UFC 230’s Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold in the interim.
”I think I’ll be a serious title contender after I beat Romero,” Costa said. “I’m sure I’ll be next. If Weidman or Rockhold get a big win, maybe the UFC puts me against the winner, but it doesn’t matter. I would like to do that fight, too. The top 5 only has big names, and fighting any of them is a sign of prestige. I would like to fight them.”