Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is ready to take his next step to reclaim the title. Sherdog’s Marcelo Alonso initially reported yesterday that Whittaker is in talks to face Paulo Costa in the main event of a UFC Fight Night on April 17th. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and MMAJunkie also confirmed this. Alonso reports that the April 17th event is likely to happen at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Whittaker is looking to get another chance at middleweight champion Isreal Adesanya. He lost the middleweight championship to Adesanaya by knockout at UFC 243 on October 6, 2019, at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Whittaker wanted his next fight to be for the interim UFC middleweight championship. Alonso reports that will not be the case for this fight. However, a win could still get Whittaker his wish to rematch Adesanya. Costa is ranked second in the middleweight division, and the winner of this fight could be the number one contender.
Costa hopes to rebound from his first loss. Adesanya defeated Costa by TKO at UFC 253 at the UFC Apex. After his loss, Costa has been campaigning for a rematch with Adesanya and has unfinished business. He has a chance on April 17th to prove that he is still a threat to take the middleweight champion. Whittaker is ranked number one in the division, and a win makes a strong case for Costa to rekindle his rivalry with Adesanya.