Paulo Costa Hair Transplant

Arguably, Paulo Costa is someone who’s known just as much for his social media antics as his MMA career. While his online shenanigans are something that could be talked about for days, we don’t want to stray from the topic at hand – Paulo Costa’s hair transplant.

It’s no secret that “Borrachinha” (meaning “little rubber” for those who don’t know) had a hair restoration surgery, even though the timing of it was a bit questionable. However, some people have wondered whether the (scary) muscle man really did need the surgery in the first place since his hair loss wasn’t really that noticeable.

Also, since he had the surgery, there’s been some speculation about the exact details. His hair transplant type, the number of grafts (because they looked a lot for someone whose hair loss wasn’t so evident), and why he was losing hair at all. In this blog, you’ll learn more about all of it.

Who Is Paulo Costa?

Born on 21st April 1991, Paulo Henrique Costa, who previously went by the name Paulo “Borrachinha” – we’ll get into shortly – is an MMA fighter in the middleweight division of the UFC. Paulo is actually the younger brother of Carlos Costa – a former mixed-martial artist, who was known for his flexibility and hence nicknamed “The Rubber Man.”

Being the younger brother of Carlos, the moniker kind of extended to him and so he got the nickname “The Little Rubber Man” or “Borrachinha.” But as that didn’t really translate well into the English language, Paulo eventually decided to go with Costa instead and replaced the rubber with “The Eraser” – as in he will erase his opponents.

After making his promotional debut against Garreth McLellan in 2017, Costa kept up the momentum. He even had a shot at winning the UFC Middleweight Championship until Israel Adesany broke the streak. And since then, things haven’t been the same for Paulo, with him gaining more and more of a reputation for his pullouts.

First, it was against Whittaker, and the reason cited for the cancellation of the fight was the flu. Then it was against Jared Cannonier over a pay dispute (also the time around which he had his hair transplant). Whittaker again and then Khamzat just last month – the latter, admittedly was due to a very bad infection on his arm. We can only wait and see what the future holds for him.

Did Paulo Costa Have A Hair Transplant?

In June 2021, Paulo Costa very publicly underwent a hair transplant at a clinic in Brazil. While fighting that year, his bald spots had started to show quite clearly, especially when his hair would become slick with sweat.

From the looks of it, the hair follicles on the top of his scalp and the crown region had shrunken or miniaturised, leading to baldness. Although Costa’s intact hairline sometimes made people doubt if hair loss was ever an issue for him.

paulo costa before hair transplant
Paulo Costa Hair Before Hair Transplant, 2019/ Source: borrachinhamma via Instagram

Even in the video of him at the clinic, his hair loss didn’t seem too significant. But as you can see, his hair density was clearly on a decline, which is why he might’ve decided to have the surgery.

The very month that Costa had decided to get a hair transplant was also when he’d announced he’d be pulling out of his fight with Cannonier – which was scheduled for 21st August 2021.

paulo costa shaved hair
Paulo Costa Shaved Hair, July 2021/Source: borrachinhamma via Instagram

It was speculated that Costa specifically did so just so that he could have the hair transplant. It should be noted that contact sports is something that surgeons may advise against for 2-3 months after the hair transplant.

That’s because any kind of injury or trauma might have the potential to permanently damage the newly transplanted hair.

And keep in mind you won’t see the results immediately after. In fact, you might experience a type of temporary shock hair loss after the procedure. Hair growth starts 3 months later, and you can see the final results after 12-18 months.

paulo costa after hair transplant
Paulo Costa’s Hair After Hair Transplant, 2023/Source: borrachinhamma via Instagram

What Type Of Hair Transplant Did Paulo Costa Have?

Paulo Costa quite possibly had a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant. In this technique, a punch tool is used to score out individual grafts of hair from the back and the sides of the scalp – the donor areas. The grafts are then transplanted into the bald spots at the front and the crown.

Fut vs fue hair transplant

This transplant technique is usually preferred over the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) method because it doesn’t leave a linear scar. In FUT, a strip of skin is cut out from the back of the scalp, and individual grafts are taken from that.

These are then transplanted, but FUT can leave a long scar, which can be visible with short hair, and the recovery can be relatively longer as well.

Did Paulo Costa Lose His Hair?

Paulo Costa was experiencing hair loss probably because of androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. There is a genetic predisposition to this type of hair loss, and a byproduct of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone miniaturises the hair follicles.

The result is a patterned recession of the hairline, along with simulated loss of hair from the top and sometimes the crown of the scalp (sometimes the hairline simply recedes all the way to the crown).

Classic androgenetic alopecia
Androgenetic alopecia

It’s also been speculated that Costa’s hair loss was due to stress. But you should know that stress causes a type of reversible hair loss called telogen effluvium. It may last for a few months, but your hair should grow back, which is why you might not need a hair transplant for this.

Androgenetic alopecia, on the other hand, is permanent, and it gets worse progressively. Hair loss can also be exacerbated by drugs like steroids, which many, including Adesanya and Romero, have alleged Costa is on – although Costa has denied these accusations.

Paulo Costa Hair Transplant Before And After

Paulo Costa’s hair before and after his transplant looks quite different. His hairline has more of a widow peak now after his hair transplant (the grafts were placed that way).

paulo costa before and after hair transplant
Source: borrachinhamma via Instagram

How Many Grafts Were Transplanted Into Paulo Costa’s Hair?

Paulo Costa might’ve gotten around 3,500-4,000 grafts for his hair transplant. By the looks of it, he was somewhere between stage 4 and 5 on the Norwood scale and such individuals might end up needing around 3,000 to 4,500 hair grafts.

Hair loss zones

While this is an estimate, only your surgeon can tell you the exact number of grafts you need. As you can see, Costa also got grafts along his hairline, even though it was intact.

It’s possible that his surgeon decided to do so because he anticipated Costa might lose hair in that area in the future (not every doctor agrees with this approach, so make sure to have a thorough consultation). In any case, since transplanted hair is not affected by the hormone that causes hair loss, it should remain in place for a lifetime.


Paulo Costa’s hair treatment might’ve come as a surprise to some of his fans, considering he’d cancelled a fight around the same time. However, the MMA fighter was quite noticeably losing his hair, which might’ve prompted him to undergo the surgery. But, of course, he isn’t the only one on the list of celebrity hair transplants.

In Brazil, that surgery might’ve cost him up to $10,000 (about £8,000), especially as he got quite a lot of grafts. Since that can be a bit expensive, you can also consider getting a hair transplant in Turkey, where the average cost is around $2,500 (£2,000).

But no matter where you get this surgery, you must do your research to make sure that your surgeon is licensed, experienced and qualified enough to perform this surgery well.

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