Dana White & Star Disagree About Future: ‘This Is Going to Be Fun’

Dana White

Getty UFC President Dana White was offered a celebrity boxing match.

UFC president Dana White wants a star to remain up a weight class, but the fighter has other plans.

On October 23, 2021, top-ranked middleweights met in the middle of the Octagon as No. 2-ranked contender Paulo Costa fought No. 5 Marvin Vettori in the main event of UFC Fight Night 196.

It was an all-out war that went the distance and “The Italian Dream” edged the scorecards, winning a unanimous decision over Costa.

A major factor of the bout is that it wasn’t contested in the fighters’ division. They fought a division up, at light heavyweight, as Costa announced during fight week that he couldn’t make 185 pounds. And according to the UFC president, “Borrachinha” won’t be heading back down.

Speaking with the media during the post-fight presser, White said about Costa: “He’s a light heavyweight,” via MMA Fighting.

White continued, saying that Costa is no longer a middleweight.  “He was in shape,” he said. “It’s not like the guy showed up out of shape, or the guy has lost his mind and wasn’t training for this fight and just showed up and was overweight. He obviously trained. He can’t make ’85. It just goes to show you that he cannot make 185 pounds.”

White then affirmed that the Brazilian will have to stay up at 205 pounds as a UFC fighter.

“We absolutely tell you where to fight when this happens,” White said. “He’s going to have to fight at 205,” White said.

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Costa Wants to Pursue the 185-Pound Belt, White Responded

During the presser, Costa said he plans to continue fighting at middleweight in pursuit of the 185-pound belt.

“I could fight 205 but I could fight 185 as well, so I think it’s better to me to come back to my weight, to 185, look for the belt, and after that move [up a division],” Costa said via MMA Fighting. “I can fight 205 anytime, but if I can make 185, why not?”

Prior to the Vettori fight, Borrachinha fought for the belt against reigning champion Israel Adesanya. Costa suffered the first loss of his pro MMA career, losing to Adesanya via second-round TKO.

White responded to Costa’s plan of staying at middleweight, commenting at the presser: “Yeah. This is going to be fun. I promise you it’s not [your division].”

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White Praised Vettori for Fighting Costa at Light Heavyweight

The UFC president had nothing but great things to say about Vettori, who stepped up to the plate and accepted to fight Costa at a higher weight class. White also credited Costa for being in shape, even with the botched weight cut.

“You have to give all the credit to Vettori,” White said. “This guy was willing to fight at any weight and he didn’t let any of this stuff mess with his head. And at the end of the day, it’s all about the fight. They both fought their a** off. Costa came out and fought. Costa looked better in the fifth round than he did in the first round, so he was definitely in shape. When a guy comes in and he’s that heavy, you have to question whether he’s in shape or not. He was in shape.

“Had this thing not worked out the way that it did, he’d have been on a plane to Brazil with no money,” White continued. “He would’ve been put back on a plane, flown back to Brazil, and wouldn’t have made a dime on this fight. So when you talk about prizefighters that are getting money to actually get in and perform — when they perform, then he had to give up 20 percent of that. So I think that’s punishment enough, plus you guys [the media] beat him up pretty good this week too, and deservedly.”

White said that on fight night, Vettori weighed around 208 pounds and Costa fought at 220 pounds.

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