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Paulo Costa says Sean Strickland turned down UFC 302 fight; Ex-Champ alludes to the reason for this

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According to Paulo Costa, he was offered a fight against former UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland in June.

Costa (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) said the UFC came to him with the Strickland name for UFC 302 on June 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, but Strickland (28-6 MMA, 15 -6 UFC) declined the fight.

“This is great stuff,” Costa said on “The Coach and the Casual” podcast. “UFC has proposed a fight with (Jared) Cannonier. It's a nice fight, I love the idea of ​​fighting Cannonier and (UFC has proposed this fight) for June. But two days ago UFC came back and said, “Paulo, you fight Strickland on June 1st.”

“It's a great fight. It's a fun fight, even (more fun) than Cannonier, I think. Unfortunately I don't know what happened. Strickland says no, he doesn't want to fight me. Strickland, unfortunately he refused to fight me. That's what UFC told me. I just got this information from UFC. I think this fight would be great. I would like to fight him.”

Strickland didn't deny that Costa was offered to him, but he suggested it on X that he did not agree to the payment.

Strickland lost his middleweight title to Dricus Du Plessis in a hard-fought fight at UFC 297 in January. He campaigned for an immediate return match, but it appears the promotion has other plans.

Costa is coming off an entertaining decision loss to former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 298 in February. He previously outlasted Luke Rockhold in a Fight of the Night war at UFC 278.

The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie