This Saturday, Rockhold takes on Costa in the co-main event of UFC 278. It will be the former middleweight champion’s first fight in over three years, since losing to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239, and his first middleweight bout in over four. But despite his long absence from the sport and from the division, Rockhold believes that a win over Costa, currently the No. 6-ranked middleweight in the UFC’s rankings, will be good enough to get him another shot at the 185-pound championship.
“Next,” Rockhold told Helen Yee when asked how soon he believes he could fight for the championship. “I’m not going to do anything else. If I don’t get it, they don’t get it.”
Rockhold won the UFC middleweight title at UFC 194 back in 2015, but after taking the belt, his career took a precipitous downturn. He lost the title to Michael Bisping just six months later, rebounded with a win over David Branch, then got knocked out by Yoel Romero in an interim title fight in 2018. Rockhold then tried a move up to light heavyweight, but was again knocked out in the aforementioned Blachowicz fight. Still, as a former champion and with the current state of the middleweight division, Rockhold could be right that a win can catapult him into a title shot, it’s just a matter of against whom? Current champion Israel Adesanya is set to defend his title against kickboxing rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281, and Rockhold isn’t entirely sure who will come out of that one with the belt.
“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****** 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.”
But before Rockhold goes counting his chickens, he has his own fight to worry about. Costa is a former middleweight title challenger who finds himself similarly positioned with his back against the wall. Costa got knocked out by Adesanya at UFC 253 and then dropped a unanimous decision to Marvin Vettori last October. Another loss could be disastrous for Costa’s career, and so he looks to be in phenomenal shape heading into this fight, but according to Rockhold, it’s simply a matter of himself. Rockhold believes that if he fights up to his potential, everything will take care of itself.
“I’m not looking to do anything but just to be myself,” Rockhold said. “When I go outside myself you see what happens, I have s*** performances. When I’m relaxed and I have confidence in myself and I’m just happy and have fun, that’s when you see the Luke Rockhold that everyone really came to love in the first place. These last few years, four or five years, it’s not really been me, and you can see the shift...
“So for me, just being myself, relaxing, finding my openings. I think this guy knows he’s got to come for me, and I’m going to hurt him every time he comes, and I’m going to put him down.”
UFC 278 takes place this Saturday at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
Shade. Marlon Vera: Dominick Cruz’s signature approach ‘very low level’ and ‘not the best style for MMA’.
UFC San Diego Post Show.
Paddy Pimblett says he’s already back up to 200 pounds.
UFC 278 Countdown.
Paddy Pimblett giving back to the children.
On To The Next One. Matches to make following UFC San Diego.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Congratulations @rory_macdonald on completing a fantastic career in MMA. You are a warrior in every sense of the word, but also the ultimate sportsman. You allowed me to be part of one of the greatest fights in the history of MMA and I will never be able to thank you enough— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) August 15, 2022
This is one of my favourite fights of all time. The performances and entertainment this legend provided deserves the greatest of retirements.— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) August 15, 2022
Wishing you all success in the next phase of life @rory_macdonald
Thank you pic.twitter.com/role4jEjzY
Father Time is truly undefeated. I said before this fight, that it may be the passing of the guards. Chito can still take a shot, Cruz, not so much. It’s the circle of life in this game. Chito caught him at the right time in both their careers. Great win! #UFCSanDiego— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) August 14, 2022
Yea, I can’t believe how ppl are ignoring this fact. That chin was long gone. He looked good but we all know you need to be able to take what you can dish out. Chito landed shots that most bantamweights could take, OUTSIDE of that headkick. That was nasty! https://t.co/q70zCfDy3l— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) August 14, 2022
It was good fight. Dom did what he could at this point of his career. But the younger lion bested him. Passing of the torch! https://t.co/aS5WXTKEjg— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) August 14, 2022
Dominic was easily wining that fight(4-0) he leans the head to heavy and it’s the same way I knocked him out too. Chito won but I’m not impressed by his performance. Going back to much and getting point fought the whole fight. Chito could have finish him a couple times and didnt— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) August 14, 2022
Cruz was looking like his old self too chito is just so powerful— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) August 14, 2022
Cruz winning , fighting the perfect fight and just couldn’t make mistake with chito. Chito can lose the whole fight but find that kill shot at any moment lately. Always dangerous and very hard to hurt— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) August 14, 2022
In due time Gods plan always comes to fruition.— Ode' ⭕️sbourne (@OdeOsbourne) August 14, 2022
This is the journey
Shoutout to Tyson for a beautiful finish. Hats off to him on that performance. pic.twitter.com/VYZFUicrGh
Telling a fighter that you lost money betting on them is kind of like telling a romantic partner you wasted money because you didn’t get what you wanted. You erred on a hope, and while both statements could be true, it’s still pretty trashy— Juan Adams mma (@chosenjuan285) August 14, 2022
7 fights in 15 months, after doing it i can kinda see why some people only do 2 a year i want to do what other people can’t though so I’m fine doing what others won’t. 1 week to relax then as soon as the body heals we are back to the gym and changing the approach #growth— Juan Adams mma (@chosenjuan285) August 14, 2022
It doesn’t matter. It’s a clear conflict, and in any other sport, someone in DC’s position would simply recuse themselves from the booth for the bout.
Darren I expect better from you. I’ve called multiple teammates fights. And honestly my commentary doesn’t affect the judges or anything honestly. Most times my team is mad at me because they feel I am too much in other direction. Do better Till!— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 13, 2022
I was just joking, I only said it for likes and retweets. Hope to see you there commentating.— D (@darrentill2) August 13, 2022
I forget who I was talking to. I am sorry I was drunk lol— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 13, 2022
Bo Nickal (2-0) vs. Donovan Beard (7-1); Contender Series, Sept. 27.
Thanks for reading! See y’all tomorrow.
If he does win on Saturday, will Rockhold get a title shot?
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