Anaheim, CA — Middleweight contender Paulo Costa is finally ready to return to action at UFC 298 this Saturday, paired up with ex-champ Robert Whittaker.

That said, Costa still had plenty to say about the Khamzat Chimaev fight that wasn’t to be during Wednesday’s UFC 298 media day, recounting how a previously booked match-up with “Borz” fell through. That came about when Costa was asked about finally showing that he could make it to the cage.

“I’m so happy to be here after a long time out, a long stop. I tried really hard to keep fighting. Since the beginning of January last year, I was ready to fight,” said Costa, a former middleweight title challenger. “But I got into negotiations with UFC; when we finished that one, it was around July, and then they scheduled a fight around July. But suddenly the came up with a new opportunity, a new fight, that would be bier than the old one. But the fight just could happen in October, in Abu Dhabi.”

“So it takes almost a whole year, and I was just waiting to fight Chimaev in Abu Dhabi in October. And then you guys know what happened. Early, like 15 days before the fight I got that infection in my elbow. I really tried, I tried really hard to keep in the fight but doctors don’t allow me to keep in the fight.”

Things are looking much better during this fight week in Anaheim. “Finally, finally I’m going to show up, finally I’m going to be fighting for everybody to watch.”

Of course, as Paulo Costa prepares to build on a 2022 win against Luke Rockhold, he recognizes that champ Dricus Du Plessis may be out a while. Which could forestall his own intended rise to the top.

“In the worse scenario, if they have another great name, they can make a super-fight for the title or something. I agree. I fear no one, you know? I’m ready to fight anybody,” Costa said of the possibilities that might be ahead. “I can definitely beat [anybody], I believe in my skills. As I mentioned before, I’m feelin a new version of myself. I’m 32, I’m feeling in my prime, physically, mentally, and technically. My weight cut is always getting better and better, easier and easier. I don’t feel drained anymore. It’s chained a lot. I don’t think I’ve hit my prime yet, I think I’m on my way, but I’m feeling better each time I come here to fight.”

Watch the full UFC 298 media day appearance by Paulo Costa above.

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