Paulo Costa has only fought three times in the UFC, but thats enough to convince him that hes the one to bring Brazilian MMA back to where it once was.
Days after knocking out former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 217 in New York, the Brazilian middleweight spoke with Ariel Helwani on Thursdays special edition of The MMA Hour, and said he will follow the steps of the legends of the last generation.
"We need a new hero in Brazil because we had many legends in the last generations, but now we need to renew this, Costa said. "And I think I have the biggest name to carry the torch.
Costa calls fellow middleweight Anderson Silva the greatest MMA fighter of all-time in Brazil, but that doesnt mean he wouldnt agree to share the cage with him one day even though hes not sure The Spider would ever take it.
"Its a great honor for me because hes my idol. No problem, Costa said of a fight with Silva. "Its good for me. Hes my idol, so I think hes amazing. But I dont know, hes a superstar so maybe he wants to make super fights."
Another legend of the sport in Brazil was close to fighting Costa in the UFC, though, as the UFC reached out to Vitor Belfort with an offer to face The Eraser earlier this year.
Costa went on social media and said Belfort was scared after The Phenom turned down the offer, and the MMA veteran was not happy about the things Costa said, citing the two having trained together in the past.
"He made the same with Anderson Silva," said Costa, referring to Belforts UFC title fight with Silva alter the duo trained together in the past.
"He called me when he was going to fight Chris Weidman, but the fight (was cancelled) because Chris Weidman injured his ribs and he (didnt speak) with me again after. It was not good, Costa continued. "I trained with Vitor two times, he called me, but Im not his friend. And hes not my friend too. And Im professional.
"The UFC called Wallid Ismail, my agent, and said ok, we have a new fight for Paulo here, against Vitor Belfort, what do you think about? Wallid called me and said that, and I said, Of course, lets go now. When is this fight? And Wallid called (the UFC) again and said, Ok, lets do this, and Vitor said, No, hes coming now (to the UFC). I dont know why Vitor dont like this fight."
Costa is no longer looking for a fight with Belfort next, as he targets a March return to the Octagon against Derek Brunson or any other top-10 opponent.