According to multiple sources, the middleweight fight has been verbally agreed to for UFC 241 on Aug. 17 in Anaheim, California. Both fighters are expected to sign their bout agreements shortly, sources say.
This is the fourth time the UFC has tried to book this particular fight. Previous attempts in November, January and April have all fallen through for various reasons. Most recently, it was because of Costa's pending anti-doping violation case with USADA and the New York State Athletic Commission for the prohibited use of intravenous infusion (IV) twice in 2017. USADA recently announced it had suspended Costa for six months for the infraction, but that suspension has since expired.
On a recent episode of Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, Romero broke the news that Costa was dealing with a USADA issue but didn't reveal any particulars, which led to rampant speculation about what Costa did. Costa has taken issue with this approach from Romero.
"Yoel Romero needs to understand this is personal," Costa told ESPN. "He's a liar. He's a Soldier of God? How can he call himself a Soldier of God if he is spreading gossip? He's a soldier of devil for spreading lies. And he's going to pay. Now is the time for him to pay."
"We've been offered this fight four times now," Romero's manager Abraham Kawa told ESPN. "We've now accepted it four times. We couldn't fight all three previous times because Costa was suspended. We're hoping there are no suspensions this time and we can actually fight.
"Yoel is a man on a mission. He wants to win that belt. He is rejuvenated and feels better than ever."
The 42-year-old Romero (13-3) hasn't fought since his split decision loss to middleweight champion Robert Whittaker last June, while the 28-year-old Costa (12-0) is coming off a TKO win over Uriah Hall last July.