In recent weeks and months, it appeared that welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev was on a collision course with former middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa.
Following a near-physical altercation during UFC 279 fight week last September, the pair have consistently gone back and forth on social media and in interviews, sparking talk of a clash inside the Octagon.
But while reports had the pair lined up for a showdown at the planned Abu Dhabi-held card in October, Paulo Costa recently had a different fight announced during the latest round of live-video fight announcements from Dana White.
“Borrachinha,” who currently occupies #5 on the 185-pound ladder, will return to face unranked prospect Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291, set for Salt Lake City on July 29.
Khamzat Chimaev Dismisses Paulo Costa’s Wins, Predicts Defeat At UFC 291
Aliskerov, a Combat Sambo World Champion, only debuted in the Octagon at UFC 288 earlier this month. The Brave Combat Federation veteran made a splash in his first appearance, knocking out Phil Hawes in brutal fashion.
The win extended the Dagestan’s record to 14-1, with his sole career defeat coming to Chimaev in 2019. And having shared the cage with and gotten the better of Ikram Aliskerov, “Borz” believes he has what it takes to beat Paulo Costa come fight night in Utah.
“Paulo has like, spoken a lot of sh*t about me. That guy, I want to smash him. I want to kill this guy,” Khamzat Chimaev said in a YouTube video. “I was doing a lot of things and he wants to fight with the other guy. The guy, I fought him a long time before. Three or four years ago, before UFC. I win against the guy.
“I think the guy will beat him (Costa) as well. Paulo is not good. He’s sh*t, bro. He just talks too much,” Khamzat Chimaev continued. “He beat nobody. A close fight against Romero, only fighter he wins against. Other people, I don’t know. Nobody knows these guys. I don’t know who he beat.”
With talk of Khamzat Chimaev boasting a future at 185 pounds following his sizable weight miss last year, it stands to reason that the winner of Paulo Costa vs. Ikram Aliskerov could pursue a clash with the Chechen-born Swede down the line.
While the Brazilian may want to settle his verbal feud with “Borz” in the cage, the Dagestani will no doubt look to avenge the sole loss of his professional mixed martial arts career.