Paulo Costa has claimed that he will leave the UFC for a new career in boxing when his current contract expires with the promotion in a few months time.
“My miserable contract with the UFC was up in a few short months,” Costa wrote on Twitter. “Will expire in time . A new #boxer is coming to town.”
Costa is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Luke Rockhold in the co-main event of UFC 278 in August, with the records showing that he received $65,000 to show and a $65,000 win bonus, taking his combined salary to $130,000 in total for that bout.
That’s certainly on the low-side for a well known fighter who has previously fought for the middleweight title. For instance, on the same card, Leon Edwards was paid a flat fee (win or lose) of $350,000 for his welterweight title challenge against Kamaru Usman in the main event, elsewhere on the main card Merab Dvalishvili took home $198,000 (including $99,000 win bonus) and in the prelims long-time heavyweight fighter Marcin Tybura received $240,000 (including $120,000 win bonus).
So, as the No.6 ranked middleweight contender and one of the biggest Brazilian stars in the ranks at this time, Costa should certainly be looking for a significant increase in his salary when his contract comes up for renewal, and it could be that his latest post is just an attempt to put pressure on the UFC brass to pay him what he feels he’s worth.
However, Costa has shot himself in the foot at times during his current UFC run. At one stage everything seemed to be going his way as he headed into a middleweight title fight with Israel Adesanya with a perfect 13-0 record in 2020, but an unexpectedly lackluster performance that night led to a TKO loss.
Costa then only made things worse by blaming the loss on having had a bottle of wine the night before to help him sleep after suffering from leg cramps.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Costa then turned up to fight week for his next bout against Marvin Vettori well overweight, for which he appeared wholly unapologetic for as he demanded that the fight take place at 205lbs instead. Vettori agreed and went on to beat him by unanimous decision.
Costa has since successfully made weight at middleweight and picked up the decision win over Rockhold, but even that performance left something to be desired given that his veteran opponent was coming back from retirement and gassed horribly by the end of the first round, yet somehow still made the fight half-way competitive in the remaining rounds to take the fight to a decision.
There’s no doubt that the 31-year-old Costa has talent and some degree of star power, so he’s not someone the UFC will want to lose, but his previous antics could make it more challenging to get the kind of money-spinning deal that he clearly desires.
That being said, there’s still time for Costa to tip the scales in his favor as he’s currently booked to fight former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 in February, and a good win there would give him much more power at the bargaining table.