Paulo Costa congratulated Marvin Vettori on a well-fought contest and didn’t want to make excuses for his UFC Vegas 41 loss, though he disagreed with the unanimous scorecards against him. With that said, he put his massive weight miss on an injury that kept him from training.
“I came in a little bit higher [in] weight because I needed to stop some weeks of training,” said Costa, who clarified the injury was to his left bicep at the post-fight press conference for Saturday’s event in Las Vegas.
Costa came in not a little but a lot higher in weight than the 186-pound limit allowed for his middleweight contest against Vettori. The fight was rebooked as a 195-pound catchweight when Costa said on media day that he would be unable to make weight, and it was rebooked again as a light heavyweight contest less than 24 hours before the official weigh-ins. He eventually weighed in at 204.5 pounds.
Costa told reporters he would explain what happened with his weight after the event. When at the podium, he made it clear he wasn’t thrilled about pulling back the curtain because of how it could be interpreted by MMA fans.
“The only problem is I lost this fight, so it will look like an excuse,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t have an excuse for anything. I did a good job there — Marvin as well. “Congratulations to him, and to me, I think. But I had some problems to not come in here with my usual weight.”
Despite the dramatic turn of events at the scale, Costa gave his best over 25 minute of action, continuing to throw powerful strikes until the fifth round. On all three judges’ scorecards, he took Round 2 — before a point deduction for an illegal eye poke — and then took Round 5 in arguably his best performance of the fight.
Costa’s injury report marks the second time he’s cited his left bicep as a major hindrance. In October 2019, he underwent corrective surgery to repair the muscle; he said afterward he had been fighting with the injury since 2018. His recovery from the injury delayed a title fight against champ Israel Adesanya, prompting the middleweight titleholder to defend his belt against Yoel Romero at UFC 248.
Afterward, Costa lamented the difficult lifestyle choices he had to make in order to compete at middleweight, and when told he would be asked by UFC President Dana White to move up to the light heavyweight class, he didn’t completely rule out the idea. He also admitted to feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to perform after falling short against champ Adesanya in his previous fight.
Then again, Costa made no apologies to the man most affected by his battle with the scale: Vettori.
“No, no, no way,” he said. “No, of course not, [I didn’t feel bad about that]. I came here and the UFC suggested to fight at a catchweight or 205, and I just said yes, let’s go. I don’t care for weight. This is a fair fight. Both guys made weight on the same day at the same limit, so what could be more fair than that?”
As for his future opponents, Costa has some thinking to do about what weight he shows up at the next time he steps on the scale.