Is Paulo Costa A Championship-Level Fighter?

Paulo Costa, UFC

Georges St-Pierre’s coach, Firas Zahabi, hasn’t been impressed with Paulo Costa’s performance over the years.

Costa, who has been away from the fight scene for more than a year, last fought at UFC 278 in August 2022, where he claimed a unanimous decision victory over Luke Rockhold after a closely-contested fight. ‘Borrachinha’ is now preparing for his return to the Octagon against Robert Whittaker at UFC 298.

Prior to his win over Rockhold, Costa was on a two-fight losing skid, with defeats at the hands of Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. The Brazilian’s first five UFC wins came against Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall and Yoel Romero.

In a recent video on Tristar YouTube Channel, Zahabi gave his thoughts on the former UFC middleweight title challenger.

“Costa, it seems to me, has lost his focus,” Zahabi said. “He had a win over Luke Rockhold that was barnburner back-and-forth fight. But that’s after Luke is really, you know, he’s been beat several times, and let’s go look at Luke’s record… His last win was in 2017. Luke Rockhold’s last win was in 2017. Watch Costa when he was on the TUF, the TUF show, The Ultimate Fighter. He was a grappler, he wasn’t even a KO guy. He was like- all his fights, he was like fighting for takedowns, getting them just barely, exhausted by the end of the fight. We’re talking two-round fights, and he was barely winning those fights, barely.”

Do you agree with Firas Zahabi?