Dana White and Paulo Costa Reflect on UFC 294’s Heated Showdown
In a heated showdown at Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, Khamzat Chimaev edged a majority decision win over Kamaru Usman in UFC 294’s middleweight co-main event this past Saturday. Chimaev, coming off an extended layoff, dominated early, securing a 10-8 first round, only for Usman to rally back in a clash that kept fans on the edge of their seats.
Chimaev’s victory wasn’t without struggle. He faced significant hurdles, not only within the octagon against a seasoned fighter like Usman but also with external challenges, including travel issues that saw him relocate to the United Arab Emirates. Further complicating matters, Chimaev revealed post-fight that a Round 1 injury likely broke his right hand, limiting his grappling ability.
Despite these setbacks, Chimaev’s performance solidified his title shot, impressing UFC CEO Dana White.
“Khamzat was built here during COVID. Unbelievably talented. We need to keep him more active,”
White emphasized, acknowledging Chimaev’s potential and expressing eagerness to see him compete more frequently.
While Chimaev’s bout concluded with his hand raised, the night wasn’t without controversy. Paulo Costa, initially set to face Chimaev, was forced to withdraw due to a severe staph infection. Nonetheless, he was present, witnessing first-hand the animosity from fans. His entrance into the arena was met with resounding boos, escalating into a skirmish needing security intervention.
Costa, recounting the tension, said,
“I was in the hallway, taking pictures with fans, when a guy called me over just to [shoot the bird] in my face. I was pissed off.”
The confrontation escalated when Costa, on returning from the restroom, spotted the disrespectful fan.
“I had to discipline this guy before going back to the fights because my mind would stay on him,”
Costa explained, detailing the near brawl that ensued with what he described as a ‘Chechen gang.’
Security managed to defuse the situation before it spiraled further, allowing Costa to return to the event, where he watched Chimaev secure victory. Reflecting on his own condition post-scuffle, Costa shared an optimistic update:
“It’s getting better. Much better. I’ve already tested my hand Saturday in the arena,” he joked, making light of the altercation and his recovery progress.
As the dust settles on UFC 294, the spotlight remains on Khamzat Chimaev. With a potential title fight on the horizon and a hand injury to recuperate, the rising star’s next steps are eagerly anticipated. Meanwhile, Dana White’s parting words ring prophetic, underscoring the need for consistent bouts for talents like Chimaev, especially in the ever-unpredictable climate of the UFC.