Luke Rockhold remains locked in on a potential match up with Paulo Costa for his return.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion was set to compete in a showdown with Sean Strickland at UFC 268 in Nov. 2021. Unfortunately for Rockhold, he was forced out of the bout after suffering a herniated disc.
With Strickland advancing onward after a recent victory over Jack Hermansson that extended his current streak to six, Rockhold has firmly set his sights on another top contender.
“I think he poses threats, for sure. He’s dangerous in so many ways,” Rockhold said of Costa on The MMA Hour. “But, I think he’s looking for a way out and I think I can find it. I think he’s making excuses left and right. He’s missed weight twice for that fight and he’s making excuses on not contractually agreeing to this fight because of the weight issues that they’re placing upon him. So within all these rules, it’s like alright, you don’t want to make weight, you want to make excuses. You’re just a f—king b—ch when it comes down to it. Your steroids aren’t working anymore and you got caught up. You’re looking for a way out. He’s always needed distance in whatever ways and it’s obvious. So f—king show up and show out. Let’s f—king go.”
Whoever Costa’s next opponent ends up being, he will see the Brazilian attempt to snap a two-fight losing streak dating back to Sept. 2020 when he was defeated by second round technical knockout against reigning champion, Israel Adesanya (watch highlights). “Borrachinha” returned in Oct. 2021 to face Marvin Vettori in what was originally a Middleweight bout. However, mid-fight week, Costa revealed he wasn’t going to make weight and both men agreed to make it a 205-pound Light Heavyweight tilt.
Despite the changes, Costa still suffered a loss via unanimous decision and cited afterward that he was dealing with a biceps injury.