Paulo Costa: After I beat Robert Whittaker at UFC 298, I don’t want to hear Khamzat Chimaev’s name

IRVINE, Calif. – Paulo Costa has moved past Khamzat Chimaev.

Costa was scheduled to fight Chimaev this past October at UFC 294, but an elbow infection forced him out of the bout. Former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman stepped in on short notice but fell short in a majority decision loss to Chimaev.

Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) meets Robert Whittaker (24-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 298 (pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+) co-main event at Honda Center in Anaheim. He has no interest in rebooking the Chimaev fight and questions his resume at middleweight.

“Everybody knows I don’t like the guy, but I don’t think too many people take him seriously anymore,” Costa said at Wednesday’s UFC 298 media day. “He just stopped fighting. He didn’t beat anybody in the middleweight division, top contenders or even top 15. He didn’t beat anybody in the top 15 middleweight division. How can you take this guy seriously?

“He barely could beat Usman in 10-day short notice. Usman is a welterweight. He didn’t cut weight to middleweight, and everybody saw that fight. I was there. I like this beef between countries and cultures and two guys, but after I beat Whittaker, I will not want to hear his name. F*ck him. He needs to do something. He needs to beat somebody at least top 10 in the middleweight. He didn’t yet, and I don’t think he’s capable to do that.”

Costa is eyeing a title shot with a win over Whittaker. He sees former champion Whittaker as a far more formidable opponent than Chimaev.

“Of course, I would have loved to fight him in Abu Dhabi,” Costa said. “It didn’t happen, OK, I was frustrated, but I’m here right now and I’m going to fight a guy more qualified than him. Whittaker has better credentials than him. So, I don’t believe he’s going to jump and fight for the belt before me.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 298.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie