Paulo Costa won’t be competing at middleweight at UFC Vegas 41.
On Wednesday, the former UFC title challenger revealed that he won’t be able to cut down to the 186-pound limit for his main event fight scheduled against Marvin Vettori.
“My weight right now is 96 kilos (211 pounds),” Costa said during the UFC Vegas 41 media day. “What happened yesterday, [my manager] Wallid [Ismail] talked with some people with him, Ali [Abdelaziz], his manager I think, and it’s not on the schedule to make 185 [pounds] anymore. It’s another weight. I’m not exactly [sure] which weight yet.”
Out of action for the past 13 months since losing to reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, Costa was making his return against another top ranked fighter in the division with hopes that he could climb right back in to title contention.
Now Costa could be in jeopardy of not competing at all unless a deal can be struck with Vettori and his team in order to book the fight at a catchweight or possibly even as a light heavyweight bout on Saturday.
“I think this fight will happen,” Costa said. “It just will not happen if he don’t want to fight me. Maybe we can do a catchweight 195 [pounds] maybe but I think make this fight [205 pounds] could be more exciting to the fans.
“More explosive fight cause I want to go bring the fight for him. Maybe he wants to bring the fight to me. I think with both guys heavy, this knockout can happen easily.”
Of course, Vettori isn’t the one to blame for the fight happening or not, especially considering both athletes were contracted to compete in the middleweight division.
Costa is just hopeful his team can come to terms with Vettori and the UFC on a new weight for the fight, which is now just three days away.
“Make a little difference for me now, four or five pounds, six pounds. I just don’t care,” Costa said. “I’m more concentrated on my weight than on his weight. I don’t care if he makes 225 pounds or more. We need to find a catchweight to make. I don’t know exactly yet.”
Negotiations to keep the fight on the card are still ongoing but Costa’s manager Wallid Ismail told The MMA Hour that he’s confident they’ll eventually come to terms with Vettori to make the fight happen.
“We’re going to finalize the deal, how it’s going to work, the catchweight, but let me arrive there,” Ismail said on Wednesday. “But the most important now is [Costa] needs to give his best to show the world what he’s about. We cannot talk much, just the time of the fight. It’s going to be a catchweight, this is for sure.”
Costa added that he will explain “after the fight” why he was so far over the middleweight limit at a later date but for now he’s just focused on striking a deal so he can still step in to the octagon on Saturday and do battle with Vettori in the main event.