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Paulo Costa of Brazil stands in his corner prior to facing Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253

Paulo Costa Is Clicking In All Areas

Brazilian Middleweight Paulo Costa Has Made Changes To His Training And Is Eager To Show The Improvements Against Luke Rockhold In The Co-Main Event At UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 

Paulo Costa is looking to make a statement with a victory over former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold this weekend at UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2.

“I am back, and I am back with fire in the eyes, as a tiger, as a bull, a savage bull; I just want to show I am back here,” Costa told

Last time around, the 31-year-old took on Marvin Vettori in the main event of the evening, but just a few days before the two were set to step on the scales Costa announced that he would not be able to make the middleweight limit of 185 pounds. Costa and Vettori agreed to have the bout at 205 pounds.

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This time around, Costa is feeling confident that he’ll have no problem making weight on Friday morning.

“I always say that I’m feeling good, but now I feel better than ever. My weight is so low, and the weight is numbers and numbers don’t lie. I’m feeling great, with energy, not tired, not lazy. It’s a good moment to start the week. Saturday will be a nice show.”

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“The Eraser” ended up losing to Vettori via unanimous decision. It marked his second loss in a row and second in his career after being stopped by middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 253.

After those losses, it was back to the drawing board for Costa, and after surrounding himself with some new people and training methods he feels like a different man, which he believes will translate to success in the Octagon.

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“I used to train past the limit and training that gave me a lot of injuries,” Costa said. “My muscles were feeling so tired every time and after every single training session, but now I don’t do too much; we do more footwork. That’s why I think I’m lean and in good shape because I didn’t push over the limit.”

Costa has made it clear that he believes he is in his prime. With 11 of his 13 wins coming by knockout, Costa has shown the power that he possesses, and he is excited to show the improvements that he has made, and why this version is the best that anyone has ever seen.

Everything - such as the physical, emotional and psychological pieces – is in place for Costa to have a great performance this weekend. He returns to fighting in front of fans for the first time since his bout against Yoel Romero in 2019. It is something that fires Costa up even more.

UFC 278 EMBEDDED: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4

“It’s everything we have, so I want to give back everything that they gave to me,” Costa said. “When I give a great show, I will get more back, so it’s a deal. My way of fighting makes the people move, makes the people raise out of their seats, and I can feel the vibration.”

He’ll feed off the energy of the fans as he steps into the Octagon with Rockhold, who hasn’t fought since July 2019. In his last fight, Rockhold made his light heavyweight debut, where he got knocked out by Jan Blachowicz in the second round.

Paulo Costa of Brazil taunts Marvin Vettori of Italy in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX

(R-L) Paulo Costa of Brazil taunts Marvin Vettori of Italy in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Costa understands the challenge that is presented when taking on the 37-year-old, but he believes this is his time to shine and that’s what he is going to do.

“It’s an exciting fight because he used to fight very well and he’s a former champion,” Costa said. “He’s a good guy, he’s popular, me as well, I think. We will fight and I’m motivated because I have a good challenge. He has a good body kick, he’s tall, he’s in good shape. I think this is what is impressive about him.”

FREE FIGHTS: Usman vs Masivdal 2 | Usman vs Edwards 1 | Costa vs Romero | Rockhold vs Weidman | Edwards vs Diaz | Usman vs Covington 2

How someone returns to the Octagon after being away for an extended period is always talked about, but you never really know how an athlete will perform until the Octagon door shuts. The No. 6 ranked middleweight contender has that same mentality about Rockhold’s return and is solely focused on putting on a show and making a statement.

“It can be a problem because if you think about this, maybe he can lose a little bit of his confidence, or not, but it’s not a major point,” Costa said. “It’s up to him. I don’t know his mind, but I await a very good challenge because I want to give a show; I am a showman.”

UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 took place live from the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 20, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses- and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass