Chael Sonnen: UFC Keeping Chimaev & Costa ‘on Ice’
Sonnen, a fight promoter, analyst and former UFC fighter, appeared on “The MMA Hour” on April 10, telling Ariel Helwani, “My understanding is that [Chimaev] is going to fight Paulo Costa. They’ve even got a date, they’re going out [to] Abu Dhabi.”
The UFC announced in March that its next event, UFC 294, would take place October 21 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The card is set to be “headlined by a highly anticipated championship title bout.”
The fight is “a co-main event,” Sonnen specified. “Three rounds instead of five.”
The UFC’s announcement did not specify the card, but Sonnen said Islam Makhachev would be the headliner and that he would fight the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush at UFC 288, scheduled for May 6.
“So that means the card that I’m referencing out in Abu Dhabi, and the placement at co-main event. We’re four [or] five months away in a best-case scenario!” Sonnen said. “So it looks like we’re going to keep [Chimaev vs. Costa] on ice.”
Islam Makhachev Set on Defending Title in Abu Dhabi in October
Makhachev expressed his eagerness for his next opponent after the events of UFC 286 on March 19, taking to Twitter to call out welterweight champion Leon Edwards with a direct and confident statement: “I want Leon next, October in Abu Dhabi.”
Khamzat Chimaev & Paulo Costa Feud to Fuel the Fire Ahead of Potential Abu Dhabi Clash
The feud between Costa and Chimaev first made headlines in September 2022, when the two fighters were recorded having a war of words in the UFC Performance Institute.
“Did you say you [want to] f*** me up?” Chimaev shouted to Costa. The Brazilian replied, “You want to fight me? OK, let’s go.” Tantalizing the Chechen fighter.
“You Brazilian p****,” Chimaev exclaimed, as members of his team held him back. “[Israel Adesanya] f***** your ass,” Chimaev said, referencing Costa’s defeat to Adesanya. Tensions elevated, “You’re a p**** when I’m here.” Chimaev gloated as Costa strolled away.
Costa would later appear on “The Triple C & The Schmo Show” on September 10, 2022. After finding out that Chimaev had left his hat from a prior interview, Costa snatched the garment and shoved it in his underwear, thoroughly rubbing it on his crotch.
“Chimaev, I got your hat. I will give you [your hat back]. Just let me know when, where, and I can give [it back to you]. Come to your friend, me, Paulo Costa, and I will give [it to you].” Costa put the hat in his pants again, saying, “I got your hat!”
(via ‘The Triple C & The Schmo Show‘ on YouTube)
Costa followed up on his antics by tweeting a video of himself wearing the hat, saying, “Do you guys recognize this hat?”
Chimaev didn’t reply to Costa’s taunts, but the latter fighter didn’t let him forget what had happened. Costa appeared on the September 20 episode of “The MMA Hour” sent a message to his adversary.
“He’s all hype. I stole some of his hype; I stole his [night’s sleep]; I stole his cap; I stole his main event fight,” Costa credited his own actions as the reason Chimaev missed weight for UFC 279 and was demoted to the co-main event. “Chimaev, you need to do something, mother******? I stole everything that you had!”‘