UFC 294: Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev fight in jeopardy, Dana White reveals

Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev is in jeopardy for UFC 294, UFC CEO Dana White revealed Tuesday.

“Yeah, it’s possible,” White said when asked whether the co-headlining bout is off in light of Costa’s revelation three weeks ago of elbow surgery, adding fans would know “very soon” the final verdict.

Costa on Monday said he “definitely” is facing Chimaev, who makes his middleweight debut at the Oct. 21 pay-per-view event at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The Brazililan one-time middleweight title challenger said his injury began a staph infection but got worse and was diagnosed as a “bursitis infection” that required immediate surgery.

Costa, who flew to Abu Dhabi four weeks ago, said he’d discussed his timeline for recovery with doctors and his team and decided it was acceptable to compete.

According to White, he may not have that chance. “Hopefully within a couple of hours, I’ll have an answer for you,” he said, later adding the promotion is talking to “a couple” potential replacements.

Costa hasn’t competed since August 2022, when he earned a unanimous decision over Luke Rockhold at UFC 278. He was subsequently linked to fights with ex-champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 and Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291, but he disputed agreeing to the bouts and was subsequently removed from the cards. The latter bout came as he and Chimaev engaged in a war of words that eventually led to their booking for UFC 294.

Now, Costa’s participation once again hangs in the balance.