Paulo Costa may be the most powerful rising contender in mixed martial arts (MMA) right now.
The hulking Brazilian knockout artist has surged to four straight wins since debuting in the UFC in March 2017. His most recent win came over longtime vet Uriah Hall in a bad blood-fueled bout at July’s UFC 226. The win earned him a perceived shot at former interim title challenger Yoel Romero at November 3’s UFC 230 from New York City.
That bout fell apart, unfortunately, when “The Soldier of God” was forced to heal from facial injuries. That put Costa’s return timetable on hold for the time being. However, it’s not affecting his extremely lofty career goals as a result.
Costa recently told Ag Fight (via Bloody Elbow) that he’s aiming to win three UFC titles and retire. He claimed he can fight at welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight:
“My career plan is simply to retain three belts and retire. I can fight at welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight. I want to do boxing afterwards, before I turn 35. Who was a plan B never accomplishes plan A or B. You can’t have a plan B in life. When you have a plan B, you’ll give up in the first adversity you face. So what did I do? I said I would never have a plan B. My only one is plan A.”
Accomplishing those goals would obviously rank Costa as one of the best UFC fighters of all-time – if not the best. But it’s tough to doubt him at this current point of his career.
Costa has racked up a spotless 12-0 record in MMA, and he’s finished every single one of those wins. He now owns the No. 8 spot on the official UFC rankings at middleweight There’s little doubt he’s fully deserving of a fight against someone like Romero, a scary thought considering he only made his octagon debut last year.
His full focus is on becoming UFC champion. To him, he never had any other plan because he simply couldn’t afford one:
“I never had money to catch the bus to go train, nor to buy my supplements. I spent six months away from home, I spent Christmas, New Year’s, everything, away from my family, with no means to go visit them, I simply soldiered through all that, because I had no plan B.”