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Luke Rockhold anticipates title shot with Paulo Costa win: ‘I’m not going to do anything else’

UFC 199: Rockhold v Bisping 2 Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Luke Rockhold isn’t settling for anything less than gold after a potential UFC 278 victory against Paulo Costa this weekend (Sat., Aug. 20, 2022) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The former UFC Middleweight kingpin will make his first walk to the Octagon since July 2019, having last suffered a second round knockout loss to eventual Light Heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz. The bout acted as Rockhold’s divisional debut after being two fights removed from his reign as Middleweight titleholder. Against No. 6-ranked contender, Costa, Rockhold is primed to launch himself back into the thick of things as the co-main event.

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TWO TITLES UP FOR GRABS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sat., Nov. 11, 2023, with a re-worked pay-per-view (PPV) main card. In the ESPN+-streamed main event, former 205-pound roost-ruler, Jiri Prochazka, will lock horns with ex-Middleweight kingpin, Alex Pereira, for the promotion’s vacant Light Heavyweight title. In UFC 295’s co-main event, top-ranked Heavyweight contenders, Sergei Pavlovich (No. 2) and Tom Aspinall (No. 4), will collide for the interim strap after division champion, Jon Jones, was injured with a torn pectoral muscle and forced to withdraw (video).

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“Next,” Rockhold told Helen Yee when asked how soon he believes he could fight for the championship (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’m not going to do anything else. If I don’t get it, they don’t get it.”

While Rockhold’s intentions are clear, he’ll have to wait at least until 2023 for his eventual title shot assuming things go his way at UFC 278. On Nov. 12 at UFC 281, the division’s crown will be on the line when the champion, Israel Adesanya, aims to score redemption against his old kickboxing rival, Alex Pereira.

“It just depends on how Israel fights,” Rockhold said. “If Israel tries to fight him — because he’s in his head. If he’s in his head and you let guys get in your head — he lost to him in a close one and then he got clipped in the second one because he let him get in his head. He was in his head. You can see he was in his head. So if Israel let’s him get in his head this time around, that’s interesting. Israel’s got to check himself and he’s got to fight MMA. We all know Alex Pereira sucks on the ground. Even Israel could probably f—king put him away on the ground. This kid’s dangerous as hell on the feet, so it all depends on Israel, what his head space is and how he fights it.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 278 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 278: “Usman vs. Edwards 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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