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Former champ Luke Rockhold notifies UFC of retirement

MMA: AUG 20 UFC 278 Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Luke Rockhold didn’t lay his gloves on the canvas after his UFC 278 loss, but he has notified the UFC of his retirement from the sport.

MMA Fighting on Tuesday confirmed Rockhold’s notification with a UFC official after the algorithm-based Twitter account UFC Roster Watch posted of Rockhold’s removal from the roster.

Rockhold, 37, didn’t use the traditional gesture of a fighter’s retirement after his decision loss against Paulo Costa. He did, however, admit his time had passed, telling UFC commentator Joe Rogan in a flood of emotion, “I f****** can’t do it anymore. I gave it my all and I just didn’t. ... I’m f****** old.”

It was an emotional speech after a gutsy performance where Rockhold repeatedly appeared at the edge of collapsing, only to return fire and land big at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. Rockhold’s first appearance in three years followed an extended layoff and emotion-charged appearance on fight week where he blasted the UFC’s business practices and sparred with Costa at the press conference.

UFC President Dana White dismissed Rockhold’s complaints but nonetheless praised the ex-champ’s showing in the octagon.

Rockhold’s bad blood with Costa – immortalized by rubbing his blood on the Brazilian’s face late in the third round – showed no signs of cooling after the fight. On social media, he posted a photo of the fight and said of Costa, “You’re still a b****.” On Sunday, he posted a photo where he appeared to be wearing compression sleeves.

A former UFC titleholder and Strikeforce champ at middleweight, Rockhold steps away from the octagon with a 6-5 record in the octagon and a 10-1 ledger outside it. The American Kickboxing Academy product cut his teeth in the now-defunct Strikeforce, amassing a nine-fight winning streak in the now-defunct promotion before crossing over to the UFC.

Rockhold’s signature wins include a title-winning decision over Ronaldo Souza, second-round submission of future champ Michael Bisping and a fourth-round TKO of Chris Weidman that earned him the UFC belt.

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