Paulo Costa Reacts to Conor McGregor’s UFC 302 announcement, calls for a clash with the Irishman

Paulo Costa and Conor McGregor

With the news that Conor McGregor’s long-awaited return to the Octagon would be at middleweight, fighters and fans already doing some fantasy matchmaking for the future.

After literal years of speculation, we now know that the Irishman will make his “greatest comeback in combat sports history” on June 28. On that date, he is expected to headline UFC 302 as part of the promotion’s annual International Fight Week event in Las Vegas. McGregor confirmed that he would square off with ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler, but threw fans a curveball when he added that the bout would take place at 185 pounds.

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With McGregor moving up three weight classes from where his UFC career began, there are a lot of intriguing money-matchups to be made. Unsurprisingly, one-time middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa was one of the first to throw his name into the mix for a clash with the new buffed-up version of ‘Mystic Mac.

“I gonna step in replacing chandler,” Costa wrote in response to McGregor’s fight announcement online.

Costa followed that up with another post, saying:

“Costa x Mc Gregor at 185lbs”

Like McGregor, Paulo Costa is expected to make his Octagon return in 2024

Fans have not seen ‘The Eraser’ in action since he won a bizarrely entertaining encounter with former middleweight world champion Luke Rockhold in August 2022. Following the contest, he underwent a lengthy contract negotiation with the UFC. Signing a new deal that reportedly guarantees him upwards of $1 million per fight, Costa has been booked for not one, but two fights that ultimately fell through.

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He was first expected to make his Octagon return against Ikram Aliskerov in July, but the fight was canceled after he had accepted a contest with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294. Two weeks before fight night in Abu Dhabi, Costa revealed that he had undergone elbow surgery due to an infection. With a second surgery necessary, Costa was forced out of the bout altogether.

He is now scheduled to square off with perennial contender and former 185-pound king Robert Whittaker at UFC 298 in February.