August 25, 2018

Paulo Costa Practices Patience By Waiting For Yoel Romero

By Raphael Garcia

The wave of young fighters making a push through the rankings in the UFC is something that should excite fans and media alike. There are a number of prospects looking to become future contenders and champions by beating opponents that have held those positions since long before they came along. One such talent is 27-year-old Paulo Costa, who is looking to etch his name on the short list of middleweight contenders by going through a former title challenger, Yoel Romero. And he’s willing to wait for the opportunity to do it.

Romero and Costa were originally scheduled to face each other at UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden. This was to be a huge fight for the middleweight division. Romero is currently the #2 fighter in the division, coming off of a wildly-exciting, split decision loss to UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker. He’s floated the idea of moving up to light heavyweight, but this fight was announced a few weeks back, much to the excitement of everyone involved in the sport.

Costa is currently ranked in most outlets' Top 10 lists, and he's been tearing through the 185-pound division. His record currently sits at 12-0, and since joining the UFC in 2017 he’s stopped all four men he's faced via TKO. He last appeared at UFC 226 where he and Uriah Hall had an exciting, back and forth battle until he put Hall down halfway through the second round. This win set Costa up for an even bigger fight, and Romero is the exact type of name Costa needs on his resume to move up the rankings and get everyone’s juices flowing. Unfortunately, it seems like Romero needs additional time to recover from injuries, and Costa is more than willing to let him recover.

“I just heard the news,” Costa said, as reported by Combate and translated by Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog. “I’m going to wait for him to return, give him the time he needs to train and what he thinks is necessary to get ready for our fight. There’s no reason to take another fight before Romero. He is the first place in the UFC ranking so there is no better fighter to fight. This is the right fight to be done, we will wait to beat him and continue my journey to the belt.”

Costa certainly has all the pieces needed in order to be fast-tracked toward a UFC title. He is coming along at a time in which the men’s divisions are devoid of any young, exciting, big name Brazilian talents to take over the positions that were created by the Vitor Belforts, Anderson Silvas, Lyoto Machidas, and Jose Aldos of the past. Brazil remains a major market for mixed martial arts, and if the UFC could develop Costa into a credible contender to the middleweight title, he could become not only a potential star, but a major revenue driver for the organization in that country.

So Costa is taking the right road in electing to wait. After two razor-thin decision losses to the champion, Romero is the closest thing to a champion that a UFC middleweight can face without getting an actual title shot. Booking this fight shows that the UFC matchmakers are eager to give him that potential springboard to stardom. And if Costa were able to finish Romero -- something that not even the champion could do -- things would get really interesting for the Brazilian.

After receiving such a golden ticket to success, Paulo Costa absolutely should relish it. He has the opportunity to fight Yoel Romero in the near future, a clear path to a title shot as long as he finds a way to get the victory. As difficult as it’s becoming to earn opportunities at winning a title, Costa should not take one step off of that course.

UFC 230 takes place November 3, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Click HERE for more UFC 230 Pre-Fight Analysis

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