According to a new report, top-ranked UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa was the most-tested athlete on the UFC roster by USADA in 2019.
Yahoo! Esportes recently reported that with 14 blood and urine tests, Costa was tested more than any other male fighter on the entire UFC roster by USADA. Women’s strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha tied Costa with 14 USADA tests as the most-tested female fighter on the UFC roster. That means both Costa and Gadelha were tested more than once a month over the last year — and they both passed all of their tests.
Costa saw the news and reacted to it on his Instagram. Here’s what the Brazilian said.
“Most tested athlete of the year. Soon I’ll open all my workouts and feeding plan completely to transform your body and performance. Stay tuned.”
After Costa and Gadelha, next up on the list with 13 tests were UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos and fan-favorite Donald Cerrone. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was tested 12 times, as were bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes and former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.
Since joining the UFC in 2017, Costa has always had the finger pointed to him as someone who could be abusing performance-enhancing drugs due to his incredible physique. However, he has passed all of his drug tests to put those rumors to rest. It is worth noting that he has been suspended by USADA in the past, though it was for using an IV, not for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Costa is currently injured and out of action until mid-2020, but when he does return to the cage he is expected to get a crack at Adesanya’s middleweight belt. In the meantime, the man who Costa most recently defeated in the Octagon, Yoel Romero, appears to be getting the next middleweight title shot.