Paulo Costa returns to middleweight for a fight with Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 despite UFC president Dana White's claims that he would exclusively fight at light heavyweight moving forward.
Costa was widely criticized for his weight heading into a Fight Night headliner against Marvin Vettori in October. Costa weighed 211 pounds when he arrived in Las Vegas for a fight meant to be contested at the middleweight maximum of 186 pounds. Ultimately, the fight was moved up a division to light heavyweight. Afterwards, White insisted that Costa -- who lost to Vettori via unanimous decision -- would never again compete at middleweight.
"I never missed weight [before that]. I just had the problem with my weight once against Marvin," Costa told CBS Sports. "I injured my arm three weeks before the fight. So I stopped training. I decided to get out of the fight. My team talked to me and said, 'We can do this. Use more kicks. Use more Muay Thai than boxing. You can do this.' I started to do different things but not train as hard as I should train so my weight stayed very high. A lot of mistakes happened in communication with my old agent, Wallid [Ismail], and the UFC."
Check out the full interview with Paulo Costa below.
Costa pled his case to the UFC and they agreed to book him another middleweight fight. Costa informed CBS Sports that he weighed 202 pounds as of Monday night for his battle with the former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion.
"It's so easy to make this 185 because I am motivated, I am focused and I don't have any injuries this fight camp. This is the first time in my career that I've gone six months straight with no injuries. It's amazing," Costa said.
"I've never come into fight week on Monday so good. My weight is so low, [I have] a lot of muscles, I took a lot of supplements. The times before, I got in on Monday with no carbohydrates, no protein. Just salad. It was hell in my life. Now, I'm eating and I feel great. Sorry, Luke. Keep the fight on, let's fight, but this is the biggest mistake that you'll make in your life."