Middleweight prospect Paulo Costa doesn’t believe Yoel Romero is truly hurt.
After the Cuban announced he would not fight at UFC 230 in November, citing facial injuries that needed more time to heal, the Brazilian went on to claim that Romero could be stalling and that his opponent wanted more time to prepare for him.
While the fight could be rescheduled for early 2019, ‘Borrachinha’ also told Combate he feels that Romero doesn’t want to jeopardize his health against him.
“I think he’s stalling, he wants more time to train,” Costa said. “That’s the truth. I don’t doubt he could be hurt, but I think he’s taking advantage of it and asking for more time to train. When the UFC sent him the contract, he knew the fight would be in November, otherwise they wouldn’t send it. I signed it, he didn’t. He said his doctor told him he needed more time to heal, but he hurt himself when he fought Whittaker, how much time would he need?
“He knows it’s going to be a tough fight, everyone in the weight class knows how it is when you fight me. It’s going be a really aggressive fight, with devastating punches and kicks. They don’t want to risk their health, especially a 41-year-old man who’s probably thinking about retiring. If he hurt his face, he’ll be afraid of getting hit there. I think he wasn’t sparring that hard before, so now it’s going to be even less harder. Unfortunately, that fight won’t be good for him.”
Should Yoel Romero not be cleared to fight in early 2019, and the title fight between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum be postponed for too long, Costa also made himself an option for the winner of the rematch between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, also scheduled for UFC 230.
“If Whittaker takes much longer and can’t fight Gastelum by the beginning of the year, I’m making myself available to fight the winner of Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman around the same time Whittaker and Gastelum fight for the title,” he said. “If the UFC and the fans want it, I’m in. I’ll take any of the two, but especially Weidman, because he defeated Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida, so he hurt our Brazilian pride a little bit. I’m ready for any of them, I’m all about the strategy.”
Paulo Henrique Costa (12-0) currently enjoys a 4-0 record in the UFC, with KO wins over the likes of Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall. In his professional career, Costa has never made it past the second round.