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Paulo Costa eyes Chris Weidman after UFC 226 win. As for Israel Adesanya? 'I don't know who he is'



After Paulo Costa had bulldozed Uriah Hall at UFC 226 on Saturday in Las Vegas, the unbeaten Brazilian middleweight turned his thoughts toward the future.

He’d just won his fourth straight fight in the UFC, all by knockout or TKO, and none of those fights had made it out of the second round. Clearly, this is a fighter on his way up. But where to now?

Israel Adesanya (13-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) had some ideas. After his unanimous-decision win over vet Brad Tavares (17-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale the night prior to UFC 226, he made it clear that he’d be looking at this fight between Costa and Hall and eyeing the winner. But when that idea was put to Costa, he channeled Mariah Carey in his response.

“I don’t know who (he is),” Costa (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) told MMAjunkie after his win over Hall (13-9 MMA, 6-7 UFC). “I think when he comes to (the) top 10 or top five … I can think about him.”

Instead, Costa had his eyes on former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC). In a quote distributed by UFC officials after the fight, Costa singled him out as a likely next opponent.

“This is just one more victory on my way to the world title,” Costa said, according to the UFC. “Now I want to face a top fighter. I want to fight Chris Weidman. No one in this division can win against me. I’m the most powerful middleweight, and I’m showing that in every fight. Uriah had very good timing and connected the jabs, but I knew he would not be able to handle my power. I’m ready for the next battle.”

Talking to reporters backstage, Costa floated the idea of facing Weidman in New York City when the UFC returns to Madison Square Garden in November for UFC 230.

“Let’s fight,” Costa said. “Let’s make a great fight in his hometown in November to see who deserves to go to the next title shot in November, after (Kelvin) Gastelum.”

As for who he expects to be the champion after Robert Whittaker defends his title, Costa’s money is on the champ to stay the champ, he said. But maybe when he wins one or two more fights, he added, he’ll get his chance to change that.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale and UFC 226, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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