Battered and exhausted from the end of the first round, Rockhold stayed in the octagon when his body clearly wanted otherwise, absorbing Costa’s best shots and firing back, most notably with a pair of expletives as Costa closed in for the kill in the third round.
Defiant even in the closing seconds, Rockhold gave the last of what he had – blood, and lots of it – in top position as he rubbed his plasma all over Costa’s face.
Afterward, Rockhold, a former middleweight champion, admitted his time had come after decades in the sport.
“I’m f****** old,” he said.
Here’s what fighters had to say about the UFC 278 co-main.
“You don’t know where I’ve been Lou!!!” #UFC278— Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) August 21, 2022
Rockhold just did some psycho rockstar shit and smeared his blood all over Paulos face— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) August 21, 2022
What a scrap! Looked like a crazy adrenaline dump on both sides early in the first round. But they kept pushing hard! #UFC278— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) August 21, 2022
Congrats to Rockhold on a great career! Let me know if you change your mind at some point . #ufc278— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) August 21, 2022
Why was he just rubbing blood all over him, wtf. Never seen that before.— Funky (@Benaskren) August 21, 2022