Robert Whittaker has ruled out a potential matchup with Paulo Costa.
‘The Reaper’ has no interest in rebooking a showdown between the two top ten middleweight contenders after Costa pulled out of their previously scheduled scrap while undergoing contract negotiations with the promotion. Since then, ‘The Eraser’ has reportedly re-signed with the promotion and is expected to make upwards of $1 million per fight going forward. Who he faces inside the Octagon next is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that you can rule out Robert Whittaker.
Appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, ‘The Reaper’ revealed that he has no interest in attempting to book another date with Costa after the secret juice-drinking Brazilian backed out not once, but twice.
“Costa upset me. I’m not fighting him because this is the second time I was supposed to fight him and he pulled out,” Whittaker said. “And it just mucks everything up. I have to do a whole camp. I make expenses and costs and everything like that to get to a point where he pulls away. This is the second time he’s done it. I want a fight that’s going to happen. I want a sure thing.”
Prior to being booked for UFC 284 in February, Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa were slated for an April 2021 meeting. ‘The Eraser’ withdrew due to an illness.
Robert Whittaker Says Khamzat Chimaev Should Earn the Opportunity to Fight a Top Five Fighter at Middleweight
Paulo Costa wasn’t the only potential opponent that Robert Whittaker ruled out during his conversation with Ariel Helwani. Asked about a potential fight with Khamzat Chimaev, ‘The Reaper’ suggested that the undefeated Chechen monster should go get a few wins inside the division before being rewarded with a top-five opponent.
“Chimaev, he’s not in the division’s rankings. I’m not a huge fan of guys just sliding in and fighting wherever they want. It’s a different place. The rankings are there for a reason. I like fighting top five guys. That’s just where I’m at. I like fighting top five guys because they’re the best of the best. They’ve earned and worked their way through the division to get there. It’s so much harder to work your way through a division than to slide in at the top.
“If you have one fight or two fights and you get to fight… Like [Alex] Pereira. There are a lot of dudes in the top twenty of the middleweight division that’ll give Pereira a hard time. Much more of a hard time than Israel [Adesanya] and that’s the truth. You know that and everyone else knows that. There are some dudes in there that’ll give him a nightmarish run for his money and that isn’t for a title.
“That’s just about the case for everybody. That’s why I like these guys that are in the top five. They worked their way up, much like I did. Work your way up, and you beat all these contenders. I like that. It’s a system we have and should be respected.”
With Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev seemingly off the table, who would you like to see Robert Whittaker face in his next Octagon appearance?