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Paulo Costa now targets January date for Yoel Romero fight, says ‘Soldier of God’ is ‘buying more time to train’

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Paulo Costa stopped Uriah Hall in his most recent UFC fight.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero will not meet at UFC 230 after all, but the Brazilian middleweight thinks the “Soldier of God” is just buying some time.

Romero, a 40-year-old two-time title contender in the UFC, recently told ESPN that doctors won’t clear him in time to face “The Eraser” at the Madison Square Garden event in New York on Nov. 3, and he needs more time before he steps back inside the cage after an orbital bone fracture.

Romero suffered the injury during a close five-round loss to 185-pound champion Robert Whittaker in June.

Speaking with MMA Fighting on Wednesday, the undefeated Brazilian talent said the UFC is now working on a January date for the fight, but contracts have yet to be sent out.

”I think Romero needs more time to train,” Costa said. “He doesn’t want to get knocked out so easily, he wants to have a better chance in a fight with me so he’s buying more time to train. He will get two more months to train. I hope it’s enough for him to be confident enough to get in there instead of postponing this loss.”

After Romero officially pulled the plug on the match, TUF Brazil winner Antonio Carlos Junior offered to step up and replace him against Costa. “Cara de Sapato”, who is slated to face Elias Theodorou at UFC Sao Paulo on Sept. 22, promised to show the world “how our sparring used to go.”

”Fighting in New York and then fighting with Romero would make more sense, but there’s not enough time,” said Costa, who is 4-0 in the UFC with four knockout wins. “And if I were to fight in New York it wouldn’t be against ‘Cara de Sapato’, it would be against an opponent with more prestige than this boy.”