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Luke Rockhold explains face-to-face blood smear on Paulo Costa: ‘I was in there with a lesser man’

Luke Rockhold’s last fight of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career is one fans definitely won’t forget.

At UFC 278 this past weekend (Aug. 20, 2022) in Salt Lake City, Utah, the co-main featured two Middleweights with some bad blood between each other. The returning former champion, Rockhold, found himself across from one-time title challenger, Paulo Costa, who was looking to rebound off the first two losses of his career. The quickly explosive contest slowed down significantly as round two rolled around and both men found themselves impacted by the city’s elevation.

No matter how tired they were, Rockhold and Costa kept swinging until the end with Brazil’s “Eraser” getting the better of most exchanges. As the final seconds melted off the clock, so did Rockhold’s blood from his nose on top of his opponent in full guard. Therefore, Rockhold decided to smear the flowing red stuff on Costa’s face in a rather unforgettable sequence.

“It was just ... f—k you. You’re a b—ch,” Rockhold explained on The MMA Hour. “I just remember talking back and forth and you know ... when somebody’s just point fighting and someone’s going for the kill, there’s a difference. And I felt like I was there to kill or be killed and he was out there trying to get by. If more time would exist — I rushed it, I f—kin’ should have had that mount position, it would have been over. You know how that world works, I just rushed into that one and fell behind, kept putting myself behind and having to dig myself back up. But I just felt like I was in there with a lesser man and I wanted to show him you’re my b—ch.”

In the end, Rockhold suffered defeat to Costa via unanimous decision, extending his skid to three after a three-year layoff (watch highlights). When speaking to Joe Rogan in the cage immediately after the bout, Rockhold announced that that was it for him as a fighter.

As for the beef with Costa, there were never necessarily any hard feelings.

“There’s no animosity, I just don’t think much of him as a person,” Rockhold said. “I don’t think that fight — him getting his hand raised — tells the tale of who we are. I think people could see who I am, at least. I’ll take it.”

For complete UFC 278 results and coverage click here.

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