UFC president Dana White is not buying the claims from Paulo Costa’s camp that he will be back in April.
Costa seemed next in line to challenge for new middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s title. However, White recently revealed that “The Eraser” would be out for eight months after requiring bicep surgery.
Since then, Yoel Romero would call out Adesanya with the latter being receptive to the matchup.
— Peoples Champ (@YoelRomeroMMA) October 30, 2019
But adding to the drama was Costa’s manager Wallid Ismail, who claimed his client would be ready to compete in April — hence, there was no need for any replacement.
But for White, that only means Costa will be able to train in April and nothing more:
“He’s not back in April,” White told Submission Radio. “Okay, listen, I love the fact that he wants to come back before April. He’s not a doctor, his manager isn’t the doctor. The reality is, he can start training again in April. Not that he can go back, he can start training again in April. So, he’s out for a minute.
“And, you know, while we’re speaking of badasses, Israel Adesanya says everyone thinks Yoel Romero’s so tough, I want Yoel Romero. I respect that so much. So, we have some ideas, we’re playing with some things right now, we’ll have an announcement soon.”
It’s not only Romero who could face Adesanya. The winner of UFC 244’s co-main event between Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till could also stake a claim for the next title shot.
Till is notably making his middleweight debut and could skip a number of contenders in the rankings if he gets the win on Saturday night. When asked if he could get a shot against Adesanya at a potential show in Australia or the United Kingdom, White didn’t rule it out.
“That fight’s big in the US too,” he added. “So, that fight’s big anywhere. So, I don’t know, we’re still playing with some ideas.”
You can watch the full interview below:
UFC 244 takes place this Saturday, November 2, and airs exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.