Dana White on Paulo Costa’s UFC 291 booking after contract issue: ‘We finally got him dialed in’
UFC president Dana White and Paulo Costa just might finally be on the same page.
Costa hasn’t competed since outlasting Luke Rockhold in a Fight of the Night battle at UFC 278 last August. With one fight remaining on his contract, he was tentatively booked to face Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 in February, but the fight fell through when he failed to come to terms on a new deal.
Now it appears Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and the UFC have come to an agreement. “Borrachinha” is scheduled to face Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 on July 29 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
“I think that every fighter we deal with is different in certain ways,” White told Ag Fight. “Some are easy, some are tougher, but that’s our job, that’s what we do. Our job is to get deals done, and we finally got him dialed in, and it will be fun to see him fight in Utah.
“His last fight with Rockhold was awesome. It was an incredible war. It’s one of those fights that if you were there live that night or watching on TV, it’s a fight you’ll never forget. So, he’s fun to watch. It’ll be good to have him back.”
Former title challenger Costa being matched up with Aliskerov (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who has just one UFC fight, turned heads, but White assures that the fight will deliver.
“I guarantee you this: He’s fighting a tough guy, and it’ll be a damn good fight,” White said. “And like I said before, when you’re negotiating and doing deals with fights, you know they’re not as easy behind the scenes as they seem on the surface.”
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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 291.