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Paulo Costa fires back at doping accusations from surfing legend Kelly Slater

Paulo Costa finished Uriah Hall at UFC 226 in Las Vegas.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paulo Costa improved to 4-0 in the UFC with another knockout victory at UFC 226 when he stopped Uriah Hall in the second round of their middleweight bout, but a sports legend doesn’t seem impressed.

Kelly Slater, arguably the greatest surfer of all-time, took his time to comment on post about “The Eraser” on UFC’s Instagram account after UFC 226, accusing Costa of being “juiced.”

”Didn’t Cung Le get caught because he looked suspect in a photo after a fight?” Slater wrote. “Costa makes Yoel’s physique look almost attainable. If this guy ain’t juiced they shouldn’t bother testing at all.”

According to USADA’s official website, Costa was tested 19 times since joining the UFC in the beginning of 2017, and never failed a test for illegal substances.

“Kelly Slater talked too much, said stupid things,” Costa told MMA Fighting. “He doesn’t understand how the anti-doping system works in the UFC, he doesn’t know how USADA works, doesn’t understand the USADA policy of testing any fighter at any moment anywhere in the world, blood and urine.

”We do random tests all the time, so if someone says a UFC fighter is fighting on the juice, to me that someone is completely ignorant about MMA, UFC, antidoping and USADA.”

Slater’s comments weren’t the first time someone has accused the 27-year-old Brazilian of using steroids. The unbeaten middleweight, who has finished all of his opponents in his 12-fight career, has heard these kind of comments since his UFC debut, and admits he’s bothered by it.

“It does bother me because people talk without knowing,” Costa said. “They judge me because I have a good physique, an excellent condition, and think I got this by cheating instead of hard work, diet, effort and sacrifice. I keep working really hard, so it bothers me because they diminish my work and effort. But I know where my results come from, so my conscience is clear.”

Happy with his “excellent” performance inside the cage against Hall on July 7, which earned him an extra $50,000 check for being one of the best performances of UFC 226, Costa believes his win proved that he’s “here to dominate, not to be just another one.” Yet, Costa still knows that Hall exposed some holes he has to fix before his next fight.

“Hall is a great fighter, experienced, has many fights, and knows how to use his reach,” Costa said. “He has already knocked out some great fighters, like (Gegard) Mousasi and many others, so he definitely came different this time and was able to hit me and hurt me. That was good because it showed me I can still get better, fix some details and flaws. I’m already working on them.”

“The Eraser” asked for a fight with former middleweight champion Chris Weidman right after his win over Hall, however Israel Adesanya’s name continues to pop up since the fellow unbeaten striker called for a fight with the winner of Hall-Costa following his victory over Brad Tavares the night before in Las Vegas.

“I asked for a fight with Weidman because he’s ranked higher,” Costa said. “Fans might wanna see me fight Adesanya because we’re two exciting fighters. Adesanya is a striker and so am I, and that’s what fans like. We’re both undefeated. If I were a fan I would also like to see that fight, but the best scenario possible is a fight with Weidman. Not because it’s the easier fight, but because it takes me higher.

“I still believe I’m the most powerful striker in my division. Dare I say, even at light heavyweight,” Costa continued, adding that he’s open to moving up to 205 pounds one day in the future. “I’m sure that if I fought Adesanya he would get knocked out, I believe in the first round. Weidman has good chances of being knocked out as well.”

Finally healed from a bicep injury that prevented him from fighting Hall earlier this year, Costa is targeting for a November fight with Weidman, specifically at the UFC 230 card at Madison Square Garden.

“I want to come back, fix the holes,” Costa said, “and work on my wrestling to keep the fight standing and knock Weidman out in November.”

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