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Paulo Costa: If not Marvin Vettori, ‘I’m not even interested in fighting’

Paulo Costa wants a rematch with Marvin Vettori.
Zuffa LLC

It’s Marvin Vettori or bust for Paulo Costa next in the UFC.

The one-time middleweight contender, who lost back-to-back fights to Israel Adesanya and Vettori inside the octagon, has only one bout remaining on his contract with the UFC, and he isn’t interested in re-signing before completing his current deal.

For Costa’s next assignment, which he guarantees it’s taking place at 185 pounds despite a weight debacle in 2021, he wants Vettori to be standing across the cage.

“I just said to let [UFC President] Dana White know,” Costa told Ag. Fight. “I’ll fight him now. It’s the only fight that interests me. No one else interests me. Unless if it’s for the title, but I’m no fool. I’m not stupid to consider [a title fight] now. I want to fight him. He’s the only viable guy that interests me. If it’s not him, I’m not even interested in fighting. I let Dana White know that.”

Costa said his manager Wallid Ismail has reached out to the president of the UFC to inform him of his decision. Ismail on Tuesday told MMA Fighting there is no update on that.

“Borrachinha” wants to fight again in April, and added, “if it’s not Vettori, there’s no one else in the UFC that interests me.”

“I don’t respect him,” Costa said of Vettori. “I want to end his life. He’s an a**hole, a fool. He had this win over me and thinks he’s the man, but he’s an a**hole, a child. We see he’s a goof, he can’t even wear shorts the right way. There’s a photo of him with his shorts backward, and he still thinks he’s the man. But I’ll fight him again. I mean, at least I plan to.”

“I’m not saying I want to fight Vettori because he took my place in the ranking,” he continued. “It’s not about that. It’s because he’s an a**hole. I have to fight him. I have to erase this loss. I want to leave him sidelined for at least a year after the beating I give him. I want to hurt him. I’m angry.”

Costa isn’t opposed to re-signing with the UFC in the future, but wants to explore the market first, and that could include boxing.

“Boxing pays more in the short term but doesn’t have the promotion power the UFC has,” said Costa. He pointed out that UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who’s also in contract dispute with the company over money, is worth “at least 20 times more” than his disclosed purse for the recent title unification bout with Ciryl Gane.

“UFC pays too little but has high promotional power,” he continued. “You have to try to have both, get what’s best from each side, which is what Ngannou has done. He’s the UFC champion, getting paid a bad purse, and now that he’s at the top he’s doing the right thing, which is to go after the financial part outside the UFC.”