Paulo Costa claims Sean Strickland turned down grudge match at UFC 302 in New Jersey: ‘It’s a fun fight’

Paulo Costa claims Sean Strickland turned down fight with him at UFC 302 in New Jersey

Off the back of his decision defeat to former champion, Robert Whittaker in the co-main event of UFC 298 back in February, former title challenger, Paulo Costa has claimed the promotion informed him that a planned UFC 302 fight with another ex-champion, Sean Strickland would not be materializing for the June event, despite best efforts. 

Paulo Costa successfully makes weight for UFC 298 fight with Robert Whittaker
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Costa, the current number seven ranked middleweight contender, most recently co-headlined UFC 298 back in February in a long-anticipated fight against the above-mentioned, Whittaker, suffering a decision loss to the Melbourne-born favorite over the course of three rounds.

Paulo Costa claims he's not signed contract to fight Robert Whittaker at UFC 298 I don't know what happened
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

As for Strickland, the outspoken former champion has yet to return since he headlined UFC 297 in January in Canada, dropping his middleweight crown in a close, split decision defeat to Dricus du Plessis, and appears to be rather disillusioned with his future in the sport amid his loss

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Paulo Costa reveals Sean Strickland bout was targeted for UFC 302

Providing a significant update on his fighting future, Belo Horizonte native, Costa claimed the promotion had suggested a bout with former title challenger, Jared Cannonier, before then revealing Strickland had turned down the chance to fight him at UFC 302 in Newark, New Jersey – much to the Brazilian’s disappointment.

Sean Strickland claims Canada tried to pull him from UFC 297 title fight they absolutely hated me
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

“UFC suggested I fight (Jared) Cannonier,” Paulo Costa told The Coach And The Casual during a recent interview. “It’s a nice fight, I love the idea to fight [against] Cannonier. And [they] suggested that fight [take place] for June.”

But then, two days ago, UFC came back and said, ‘Paulo, you fight (Sean) Strickland on June 1?’” Paulo Costa explained. “It’s a great fight – it’s a fun fight, you know, even more fun that Cannonier, I think. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened, Strickland said no. Strickland, he refused to fight me, unfortunately. But that’s what the UFC told me, you know. I just have this this information from the UFC. I think that fight, it would be great. You know, I would love to fight him.

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Who wins in a potential fight: Sean Strickland or Paulo Costa?