Daniel Cormier: Paulo Costa would ‘hold all the chips’ in UFC negotiations if he beat Khamzat Chimaev

Daniel Cormier thinks the best way Paulo Costa can get leverage on the UFC is by beating Khamzat Chimaev.

Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has one fight left on his UFC deal, but doesn’t want to complete his contract or renew it unless he gets a significant bump up in pay.

Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) said he’s struggling to book a fight as four opponents allegedly turned him down – but Costa called shenanigans. The pair have history and even had a brief altercation at the UFC Performance Institute. So with unbeaten star Chimaev looking for an opponent, Cormier thinks Costa would benefit from fighting him.

“Paulo Costa is about done with his UFC contract,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “The UFC will give you a fight to make you prove why we should pay you if you’re at the end because if Paulo Costa goes and beats Khamzat Chimaev, he might get anything he wants. So for him, it makes sense.

“But if he gets beat and wiped out, now what? That bargaining power is a little bit less. Do you still kind of move the needle a little bit? Yeah. But imagine how much you would move the needle if you’re the first guy to beat Khamzat Chimaev and hopefully beat him impressively. Then, you hold all the chips. When I say chips, I mean the dollars, baby.”

Costa’s resistance to fight saw his tentatively scheduled bout with Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 fall through, as the Brazilian continues to stand his ground. Costa said he never signed a contract and is open to a UFC return if his terms are met.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie