On Saturday, Strickland defends his middleweight title for the first time against top contender du Plessis in the main event of UFC 297. It’s a bout with a lot of bad blood that started when du Plessis invoked Strickland’s childhood and father during some trash talk, and then escalated at UFC 296 when Strickland vaulted over a row of seats to attack du Plessis. And while Costa is no stranger to trash talk himself, he does believe that du Plessis crossed the line when talking about Strickland’s family.
“I think they are going too far,” Costa told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Talking about family is not necessary. They need to be more creative. If this is true feelings, it’s okay. Go there, be real. But if not, I think it’s too much. I feel cringe for these guys when they say something like that. I don’t feel comfortable.”
For his part, du Plessis agrees that there are some limits in trash talk, saying earlier this week that speaking about dead family members is over the line, but he doubled down on his words against Strickland, noting that the UFC middleweight champion is no stranger to pushing limits and calling him a hypocrite.
Either way, Strickland and du Plessis will have the chance to settle their differences when they face off in main event of UFC 297, and Costa will be an interested observer. “Borrachinha” is set to face former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 298 in a bout that he believes will serve as a No. 1 contender match. And while he is confident he’ll beat Whittaker to earn a title shot, he’s much less confident about who that shot will come against.
“It’s interesting,” Costa said of the matchup. “I think they are not so interesting because their skills. Maybe they are not so famous for their skills, but they are very good fighters. They are weird, different styles. Strickland is not very orthodox MMA fighter, and Dricus either. …
“They are kind of weird, I think. It will be kind of interesting. It will be more of a bad feelings fight than a very skilled fight. I have no idea [who wins]. I have no f****** idea. Anything could happen.”
UFC 297 takes place this Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.