Paulo Costa Claims Sean Strickland Turned Down Fight With Him At UFC 302

Paulo Costa is currently seeking a fight for UFC 302 on June 1st in Newark, New Jersey and claims that Sean Strickland was officially offered the opportunity but turned it down.

“I love the idea of fighting [Jared] Cannonier, and [the UFC] suggested I fight in June,” Costa said on ‘The Coach And The Casual’ show. “But then, the UFC came back and said, ‘Paulo, you fight Sean Strickland on June 1. It’s a great fight. It’s a fun fight, even more fun that Cannonier, I think.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened – Strickland said no. Strickland refused to fight me. That’s what the UFC told me. I just have this information from the UFC. I think the fight would be great. I would love to fight him.”

Strickland has since responded with a brief message that suggests he’s more concerned with money than who the opponent is.

“I never say no…I say how much,” Strickland wrote on Instagram in response to Costa’s claim.

The 33-year-old Strickland shocked the sport when he beat Israel Adesanya to win the middleweight title last year, but then lost the belt to Dricus du Plessis in January via split-decision.

Since then Strickland has been calling for an immediate rematch and recently even threatened to quit if Adesanya got the title shot instead, which could be part of the reason he’s now resistant to taking a fight with Costa instead.

As for the 32-year-old Costa, he’s coming off a decision loss to Robert Whittaker in February and has now lost three of his last four fights, but is ranked No.7 in the division. Even so, that’s still six spots below Strickland, who is still officially ranked as the middleweight divisions No.1 contender.

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