Asked about a potential fight with Paul, Costa didn’t totally rule out the idea but proposed another one he said was better suited to the influencer/boxer.
“Of course, I’d like to get easy money fighting him,” Costa said Monday on The MMA Hour. “But I have a better challenge for him: Mike Perry.”
On the same day Costa outpointed former middleweight champ Luke Rockhold at UFC 278, Perry outpointed Michael “Venom” Page in sudden death at BKFC 27. Perry was an underdog to beat the one-time Bellator interim title challenger and pulled ahead in the winner-take-all final round.
“Mike Perry is almost the same weight class, Mike Perry’s a savage,” Costa explained. “If he wants a real fight, maybe fight Mike Perry.”
As for Costa, he said Paul is “not enough.”
“Sorry,” the Brazilian continued. “I’m so happy for him.”
Longtime followers of Costa should not rule out reverse psychology. Online, the 31-year-old UFC middleweight keeps everyone guessing whether or not he’s serious. And he does want to test the waters of free agency if the UFC doesn’t give him a better contract after he fulfills the final bout of his current deal. He revealed a take-home purse of $35,000 for a losing effort against Marvin Vettori; he was also fined 20 percent of his purse for a bad weight miss.
When Paul called his Rockhold fight “a glorified street fight” and both UFC middleweights “ez money,” Costa probably saw a little of himself in his antagonist. But he also injected a dose of his reality into the situation.
“Jake Paul has been doing great things,” Costa said. “He was just a YouTuber, and I think he did some TV shows, but he came into the fight business, and he did great. I need to recognize this. People inside the fight business, Tyron Woodley. But there’s a big difference fighting wrestlers for MMA and fighting strikers for MMA, and in my point of view, he does avoid these guys.
“He’s too new in this to challenge a big fight for him, and he’s very smart. He knows he’s just called out guys who he can absolutely 100 percent convinced he can beat those guys – Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. So stay out alongside from me and Luke Rockhold, because he cannot beat either.”
Costa once sparred and rolled with Logan Paul and “knocked him out” in a viral video, so he’s definitely not a Paul hater.
“Logan Paul is different,” Costa added later. “Logan Paul is bigger than him, Logan Paul is hungrier than him. He’s a very nice guy; I love Logan Paul. Jake Paul, I understand him, as well. He’s doing a great job.”