Paulo Costa accuses Khamzat Chimaev of avoiding fights: ‘He has no balls’

Paulo Costa is done chasing Khamzat Chimaev.

A middleweight grudge match between Costa and Chimaev was scheduled to take place this past October at UFC 294, but Costa was forced to withdraw due to an elbow infection. Chimaev blasted Costa for the withdrawal and now Costa is firing back, accusing Chimaev of being the one who has frequently missed out on fights.

“He needs to stop running,” Costa said in an interview with Submission Radio. “He needs to have balls to face me. For a long time, long time, this guy just avoids these fights. He has no balls. If the guy’s not pushing him, he has no balls to fight him. He wants to fight easy fights, he doesn’t want to fight guys like me or [Robert] Whittaker or somebody else like that. He wants to fight guys with no wrestling, no jiu-jitsu game, no grappling, something like that. No balls.”

Chimaev instead went on to fight former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in a middleweight bout at UFC 294, where he eked out a majority decision win. Costa was later booked to fight former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 298. Whittaker defeated Costa by decision in a three-round thriller.

Prior to fighting Whittaker, Costa scoffed at revisiting the Chimaev fight, but he sees it as a possibility now after falling back into the loss column.

“It’s possible in the near future,” Costa said. “If I had won, I would not want to fight him, but right now it makes sense because I lost.”

As of now, Costa is eyeing a fight with Usman, the man who recently stepped in for him against Chimaev. Usman signed up for that fight on just 10 days’ notice and even though he fell short on the cards, he showed signs that he could compete at 185 pounds following a dominant run at welterweight.

Costa has nothing but respect for Usman’s skills and thinks the bout could be a step towards one of them getting back on track.

“I think he’s coming from a loss as well, I came from a loss,” Costa said. “Me and him need to put a win in the records. I think he already did everything that he showed to do at welterweight, so I think it’s time. He’s not so young as well, I think he’s 37, 36, I don’t know, somewhere around that. I think it’s time for him to move to middleweight.

“He did once against Chimaev, ‘Gourmet Chen Chen,’ but it was not the whole process, he just got short notice and came up to middleweight weighing like a welterweight. So I think this fight makes sense and he’s a powerful guy. He has different skills on the ground, wrestling skills, takedowns, and striking, I think it’s the fight to make and to put one of in the line again to the top.”

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