UFC middleweight contender Jared Cannonier explained why he isn’t fighting Paulo Costa at the upcoming UFC Vegas 34 event.
Cannonier is the No. 3 ranked middleweight in the UFC while Costa is No. 2, so that fight made a lot of sense as far as the rankings go, and it also would have been an exciting fight considering both men prefer to stand and strike. However, Costa was pulled from the fight, and he later said that he withdrew because he wanted to get paid more money. UFC president Dana White apparently spoke to Costa later on about his comments, but the UFC decided to go ahead and keep Cannonier on the UFC Vegas 34 card against Kelvin Gastelum.
Speaking to MMA reporter James Lynch, Cannonier gave his side of the story about why Costa was pulled from the fight and replaced by Gastelum instead. According to Cannonier, it was indeed a contract dispute.
“I heard it was a contract dispute. And then of course I saw all the stories that circulated, but I heard from my source that it was contract issues. It is what it is,” Cannonier said.
For Cannonier, not getting the opportunity to fight Costa hurts, because he is ranked one spot above him in the rankings, while Gastelum is six spots lower at No. 9. That being said, Gastelum is a highly-respected fighter in the UFC middleweight division, and former champion Robert Whittaker is going to get the next title shot against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya based on his last win over Gastelum. So while Cannonier isn’t getting the chance to fight against someone above him in the rankings, he is still taking on a very dangerous opponent, and a win should get him one step closer to the title shot at 185lbs.
Do you still want to see Jared Cannonier fight Paulo Costa in the future?