UFC 278 this past August was an emotional night for the pair of former teammates and multi-time world champions. Cormier got to call the last fight of one of his best friend’s careers and it left a lasting impression on fans around the globe.
In the co-main event of the evening, Rockhold went to war with Brazilian knockout artist Paulo Costa. The Santa Cruz, California native performed valiantly despite coming up short via unanimous decision. It wound up being the first and only Fight of the Night bonus the former middleweight champion earned in his 11-fight run with the promotion. Rockhold retired in the cage immediately after the bout, declaring he was “too old for this s***” when speaking to Joe Rogan.
“Luke, don’t come back,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “It’s only been a few weeks and it was absolutely perfect. It couldn’t be better. Because Luke Rockhold has been the guy that has not been loved, but in that performance, he gained the praise of the masses. Not only did he gain the praise of the masses though, he gained the praise of his opponent in the competition. Paulo Costa came up to me a week later and told me how special it was to share the Octagon with Luke.
“Luke, don’t come back. It’s fine. Go do jiu-jitsu if you want to. Go to ADCC.”
While Cormier and Rockhold’s careers ended in relatively different fashions, they both went out on losing streaks. In “DC’s” case, he suffered back-to-back title fight defeats in his rivalry with Stipe Miocic before hanging up the gloves in Aug. 2020. Rockhold, 37, lost three straight over the course of four years.
Now in the UFC Hall of Fame, Cormier, 43, has never come close to making a return to action. Regardless, he understands why it happens as often as it does in MMA.
“The reality is this,” Cormier said. “Part of the thing about retiring is you miss the rush of being in front of all of those people and it shows itself when you’re by yourself. When he’s by himself and he’s with his dogs and those thoughts start to creep in, ‘I can still do this.’ Especially on those days when you feel good, you forget about how bad you feel in there. You gotta fight the urge. We all get it.
“No, man. We can’t. I can’t. Maybe Luke can with some time away, but I would advise for him to stay away. Don’t go back, especially not now. We’re still kind of riding the wave of what was in Utah.”
Rockhold’s last win came in Sept. 2017 and was the only he earned after dropping the title the year prior. Ahead of his final UFC appearance, he started to make a lot of noise, speaking on fighter rights and the often discussed pay issues. Even though he’d not found himself in the winners' circle for a significant period of time, Rockhold vs. Costa had arguably more buzz than one of his fights had garnered since perhaps his Michael Bisping rivalry.
Then he went and left fans with his wild blood-smearing in the face of Costa in the waning seconds of UFC 278’s co-main event. That moment alone was enough to act as a moral Rockhold win for many of the maniacs interested in hand-to-hand combat.
“He was universally loved after that last fight,” Cormier said. “And if you get that, especially when it isn’t something you get all the time, you may want to go and recreate that. Because you start thinking, ‘Well, that’s my reality.’ But is it? You don’t know.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
As usual the Top 10 Fighters don't want to fight me and I will not sit and wait for any of those guys. Unlike everyone else, I accept any bout they give me. I don't take easy fights and I will continue to fight the toughest guys in the division. https://t.co/lhSoVyI2xj— Arman Tsarukyan UFC (@ArmanUfc) September 29, 2022
I hear Topuria needs a fight— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) September 28, 2022
We got a fight Adrian has some of the best hands in his division but I’m about to show him how useless they are using a controller on a video game against me let’s gooooo @yanezmma pic.twitter.com/uODk8XluWz— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) September 29, 2022
As a fighter it’s natural to have dark thoughts sometimes.Suppressing or ignoring them isn’t the solution.— QuakeRiddell (@bradquakeriddel) September 28, 2022
As uncomfortable as it is,you must face and address them.
If you don’t then at some point you will be forced to.
I’ve tried to acknowledge every tweet and message. If I didn’t, I’m so sorry, I simply missed it with there being so many. I’ve said it before, I appreciate you all so much. The support from MMA Twitter helped me get this shot. This wasn’t my win, this was our win.— Jillian DeCoursey (@lionheartjill) September 29, 2022
We did it!!!
@lionheartjill Congratulations my Girl! If Anyone EVER deserved this it’s you! We rolled together when you only had 1 fight in the organization & I said to myself damn this little person is Strong lol. You were Destined & your last 2 performances Sealed it ❤️— Amanda Serrano (@Serranosisters) September 29, 2022
The Jessy school bus.
Still baffles me fighters giving D.C shit over his analytic P.O.V’s in MMA.— D (@darrentill2) September 29, 2022
They calling him out like they could fight him, don’t forget guys that Fat Potato head could still absolutely maul 99% of the roster on his worst day… let’s show some respect.
He just does everything.
Sure, no problem.
GIVE ME BOWS OR GIVE ME DEATH! pic.twitter.com/Vgh6rTS1x6— Kayla Harrison (@KaylaH) September 30, 2022
One note about tomorrow: A win for Xiong Jing Nan will make her the most dominant current champion in ONE, moving up to a total of seven title defenses.— Jack Wannan (@JackWannan) September 30, 2022
She is currently tied with Nong-O Gaiyanghadao with six.
Jamie Pickett (13-8) vs. Bo Nickal (3-0); UFC 282, Dec. 12
Judging by Alex Pereira’s rise, I think we’ll see Bo Nickal in the title picture in no time at all. Late next year or mid-2024 at the latest.
Happy Friday, gang. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
Who wins tonight?
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