John McCarthy has come out and said why he understands Luke Rockhold’s callout of Paul Costa for his return fight in the UFC.
Rockhold was scheduled to return to competitive action against Sean Strickland at UFC 268 in November of last year. However, at that time, the former UFC middleweight champion was forced to withdraw as he herniated a disc in his back.
The 37-year-old is now eyeing a return to the Octagon at some point this year, as he chose to call out Costa as a potential opponent.
“Yes, Luke at times gets too much into being a standup guy,” McCarthy explained. “Cause he’s slick, he’s a technical fighter. He’s got beautiful kicks, he hides them well, he’s got power on them, but his ground game is what made Luke Rockhold who he was.”
“They don’t give him credit for being as good as he is, and Luke on the ground is good. That dude is phenomenal on the ground. And there’s a huge difference between his ground game and Paulo Costa’s ground game. So, if I look at this fight, I go, this is not a bad fight for him. I understand why he’s calling him out.”
Costa, like Rockhold, is now on a two-fight losing streak following his loss to Marvin Vettori in October of last year. This means a fight between the pair could make sense regarding the landscape of the middleweight division currently.
Both fighters could see themselves reentering the title picture with a victory. However, many are still left wondering whether there is fight left in Rockhold, who would be returning to 185lbs for the first time since his knockout loss to Yoel Romero in 2018. Yet a two-year break might be all that was required for the veteran to rest and recover for a special comeback.
Do you agree with John McCarthy that Paulo Costa is a good matchup for Luke Rockhold?