UFC President Dana White responds to criticism surrounding recent Paulo Costa and Sean Strickland fight bookings

By Harry Kettle - May 22, 2023

UFC president Dana White has explained his thought process behind Paulo Costa and Sean Strickland’s next fights.

Sean Strickland, Paulo Costa, UFC

Across the last few months, Paulo Costa and Sean Strickland haven’t been afraid to go back and forth with one another on social media. Both are considered to be big personalities, especially within the context of the middleweight division.

In the eyes of many, it would’ve made sense for them to compete against one another at some point this year. Instead, though, Dana White has opted to go in a different direction.

Sean Strickland is set to face Abus Magomedov in a Fight Night main event at the start of July. Then, later in the month, Paulo Costa will collide with Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291.

When asked about these match-ups against unproven new faces in the division, Dana White had the following to say.

“Costa hasn’t fought in a long time, Strickland’s been fighting a lot,” White said. “We like to bring guys in and see where they’re at. The dude that Paulo Costa is fighting is tough as nails, you don’t know how good some guys are until you get them in there against the Top 15. When we’re in the matchmaking room, we think some guys are ready for that step, and some guys we don’t know…we challenge people. No. 8 doesn’t always fight No. 6 or No. 5, it’s just not the way it works.”

Quotes via MMA News

Costa and Strickland take a risk

The job of Dana White is to try and make the fights that fans want to see. Even if that doesn’t always lead to what we expect, there’s no denying the likes of Costa and Strickland deserve props for taking such a chance.

Do you agree with Dana White’s logic on this? Let us know in the comments, BJPENN Nation!


Dana White Paulo Costa Sean Strickland UFC