Paulo Costa Lobbies for Middleweight Clash with Conor McGregor: ‘Chandler can’t fight at 185’

Paulo Costa and Conor McGregor

Paulo Costa believes he would make a better opponent for Conor McGregor than Michael Chandler.

After struggling at times to make the middleweight limit of 185 pounds, Costa likely never thought he would find himself with an opportunity to share the Octagon with the former featherweight and lightweight world champion, but here we are. On New Year’s Day, McGregor revealed that his long-awaited return to action would come on June 29 as part of the promotion’s annual International Fight Week in Las Vegas.

However, the most interesting part of his announcement was the Irishman’s claim that his quote-unquote “greatest comeback in combat sport’s history” would be at middleweight.

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Taking to social media, Costa immediately entered his name into the Conor McGregor sweepstakes and even joked that he would be stepping in to replace Chandler. As it turns out, ‘The Eraser’ was way more serious than we initially thought.

“I think so, honestly,” Costa said on The MMA Hour, regarding a potential fight with McGregor. “I think this can happen, but we’re gonna fight in some way.”

Paulo Costa heaps praise on Conor McGregor

Continuing, Costa had nothing, but positive things to say about McGregor and shared why he believes a matchup between himself and the Irishman would be far more entertaining than the one being proposed.

“He’s moving up, and we don’t have too much middleweight guys right now,” Costa continued. “I think my style and his style is a good matchup. I think he’s huge, strong, good guy. He’s an exceptional fighter, I think. One of the best of all time.

“Chandler can’t fight at 185, I don’t think so. There is better matchups to McGregor at 185 than Michael Chandler.”

Having started his career at featherweight, jumping to lightweight, and dabbling in welterweight, the idea of Conor McGregor competing at middleweight is almost ludicrous. So much so that fighters and fans alike were immediately skeptical, suggesting ‘Mystic Mac’ was just playing with his prey.

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Costa, on the other hand, believes McGregor is 100 percent serious about his middleweight move, and ‘Borrachinha’ is more than convinced that the Irishman can pull it off.

“I think he can [fight at middleweight]. I think he’s serious,” Costa said of McGregor. “He’s so confident on his skills and I think he can. Maybe he makes some jokes. You know? Maybe welterweight is the best for him” (h/t MiddleEasy).

Costa is expected to make his return on February 17 when he steps inside the Octagon at UFC 298 for a showdown with former middleweight world champion Robert Whittaker.