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Dana White: Paulo Costa ‘needs to pump the brakes and slow down,’ wait for Adesanya vs. Romero

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Paulo Costa is undefeated as a mixed martial artist with four knockouts in five UFC appearances.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Israel Adesanya’s first title defense was made official on Saturday night, and Paulo Costa immediately voiced his displeasure that “The Last Stylebender” will headline UFC 248 against Yoel Romero on March 3.

Yet, UFC president Dana White guarantees it was the right move.

Speaking with the media at the post-fight press conference outside T-Mobile Arena, White said that Costa should be ready to return in May or June, and the undefeated Brazilian middleweight should focus on his recovery from a second bicep surgery instead of pushing for a fight with Adesanya.

“Costa is in this big rush,” White said. “We’re watching his Instagram the other day, and the guy is working out like he’s training for a fight right now. You shouldn’t be doing that when you just got done with surgery, and they are saying now you’ll be ready for June.

“He shouldn’t be training like that. You know what happens when you do that? You get hurt again. He needs to pump the brakes and slow down, make sure he’s 100 percent and doesn’t get hurt again, and then we can do that fight after Romero.”

With Costa unable to fight in March, the UFC obliged Adesanya’s request to face Romero, despite the fact the perennial contender has only won one of his last four in the octagon.

White said the promotion will “do the Costa fight after,” but “Borrachinha” thinks there’s a chance Romero spoils those plans at UFC 248. One hour before the fight was announced earlier this week, Costa spoke with MMA Fighting and said he thinks the 185-pound champion “might lose” against Romero.

“He might win, but he might lose,” Costa said. “And if he loses, he’s back to being a nobody again. No longer undefeated, no longer the champion, and he misses the opportunity of making millions in a fight against me. Simple.”

The Brazilian had a different timeline for a potential return to the eight-sided cage, saying he would be cleared by the doctors to fight in late April or early May. When Adesanya-Romero was made official for March, his team told MMA Fighting they were targeting June or July for a championship bout.

Costa, who defeated Romero in a close decision in his previous octagon outing, still thinks Adesanya is taking a big risk by choosing to defend his belt against a dangerous opponent instead of waiting for him.

“Poor guy,” Costa said. “Adesanya understands nothing about business, pay-per-view sales, about money. He understands nothing. He has no idea that a fight with me would be bigger than any other, especially against Romero.”