Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was once considered the world’s finest fighter at 185 pounds and comfortably held the No. 3 spot in the promotion’s pound-for-pound rankings.
How the mighty have fallen.
In the last five years, the 37 year-old Rockhold (16-5) has dropped three of four and gone to sleep in all three of his losses, including his failed light heavyweight experiment against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239 back in summer 2019.
Expect that pattern to repeat itself against Paulo Costa in August.
“I see Luke Rockhold losing the few brain cells that he has left in his brain and just going to sleep badly for a few minutes,” No. 3-ranked middleweight contender Marvin Vettori told veteran MMA reporter Helen Yee. “They’re two guys that their stock is not high right now, so makes sense that they fight each other.”
Vettori is expected to make his Octagon return opposite Robert Whittaker in Paris.
Rockhold and Costa were originally booked for the UFC 276 pay-per-view (PPV) in July; however, some “pathetic” campaigning from Team Costa was successful in getting their 185-pound showdown moved to the promotion’s “Fight Night” card on Aug. 20.
Perhaps “The Eraser” needs time to rub out those few extra pounds.
“I’ve heard stories that he goes up to 250, 245, so he has to take a lot of time to make 185,” Vettori continued. “He did it before and I believe if he takes it seriously, he’s going to do it again. So I think he’s going to do it this time. The last time with me, everything was pretty crazy – but whatever. I took the fight, I made it happen, and I beat him.”
Expect an entirely new landscape in the middleweight division in just a few months.