Paulo Costa’s manager Wallid Ismail has made a public call-out for a middleweight interim title fight to be booked against Robert Whittaker in the near future while the division waits for current champion Israel Adesanya to return after his upcoming light-heavyweight title fight against Jan Blachowicz in March.
“This fight has been discussed ever since they first announced that Adesanya would fight the 205-pound champion Blachowicz,” Ismail told mmafighting.com. “Dana White said he wants this fight, that he would make this fight happen, and Whittaker said he would only fight for the belt next.
“We’re just waiting for Dana White to book this fight.
“This is the best fight for 185, the No. 1 against the No. 2.The winner… Borrachinha will win, and with that win, imagine how many pay-per-views a rematch with Adesanya would do.
“It’s a business. It’s the best pay-per-view possible because Borrachinha and Adesanya really hate each other, but we can’t leave the division on hold. That’s why we have to make this for the interim belt.
“It’s a win-win for the UFC, and that’s what Dana White wants. He knows that Borrachinha vs. Whittaker will sell well, and he knows how much the title unification bout will sell, too.”
Whittaker and Costa are the No.1 and No.2 contenders respectively in the division, so it’s certainly a match-up that makes sense, but the question is whether the UFC would be willing to hook the winner up with the interim title or not.
Given that it’s only been three months since Adesanya convincingly defeated Costa by TKO and the fact he’s already said he’ll be back to defend his middleweight title in due course then there doesn’t appear to be any big rush to bring in an interim belt, but stranger things have happened.