Monday, May 16, 2022

Rockhold Open To Hunting For Costa’s ‘Wine-Affected Liver’ In June

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is raring to go and targeting a return to the Octagon this summer.

Rockhold hasn’t been in action since a brutal 2019 knockout loss to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239. With consecutive devastating losses to the Polish powerhouse and Cuban destroyer Yoel Romero, it’s understandable why the 37-year-old has taken a hiatus from the sport.

But last year, Rockhold committed to a return. He was set to share the cage with rising contender Sean Strickland last November at UFC 268. That clash fell through when the former 185-pound titleholder suffered a herniated disc.

But with his recovery going well, the Californian recently teased a comeback. In a post uploaded to Instagram, Rockhold can be seen hard at work in the ring. In the accompanying caption, he seemingly hinted towards a potential showdown with #5-ranked contender Paulo Costa.

“Wine night in June”

The caption appears to be in reference to Costa’s infamous post-fight revelation following his loss to Israel Adesanya in 2020. The Brazilian put his defeat down to the fact he’d consumed an entire bottle of wine the night before UFC 253.

While Rockhold was keeping his cards close to his chest regarding the post during a recent appearance on Submission Radio, he did confirm that a clash with “Borrachinha” is an option if the right terms are met.

“It’s an option. It’s a very viable option. If terms are met, you know, we could have a dance.”

But that dance certainly won’t be happening if Costa experiences more weight issues. Ahead of his last appearance, a unanimous decision defeat to Marvin Vettori last October, the Brazilian arrived at fight week massively overweight and unable to make the middleweight limit. As a result, the headlining fight was contested at 205 pounds.

While “The Italian Dream” went through with the bout and ultimately had his hand raised, Rockhold has assured Costa and the UFC that he wouldn’t have the same attitude to a weight miss.

“Yeah, I’m not here to fight f*cking cheaters,” Rockhold asserted. “If weight is met (the fight could happen) unless too much wine is consumed, you never know. Weight has to be made. Weight has to be met. There are too many weak-ass people trying to get advantages. I’ve killed myself to make weight and f*cking do things right. Can’t say the same for the rest of them. I ain’t gonna do that again. I ain’t gonna fight a guy who misses weight purposely to gain an advantage. F*ck no… It’s weak-minded. It’s a very similar thing to excusing a loss to drinking too much wine the night before a world title fight.”

Rockhold Hopes To Show Costa & His Liver The Door

Ultimately, if Costa can prove that he’s able to make the 186-pound limit for non-title middleweight bouts, Rockhold is open to sharing the Octagon with the former title challenger, suggesting it would be a “fun fight.”

Admitting his dislike for Costa, the former champ claimed the Brazilian’s “disrespect” for the sport of MMA motivates him to dispatch “The Eraser” inside the cage. Channeling his inner Hannibal Lector, Rockhold revealed his desire to feast on Costa’s ‘wine-affected’ liver.

“He’s a guy that I don’t like. I think (he) disrespects the sport,” said Rockhold. “That motivates me to f*cking correct it. It’s a guy who’s obviously, you know, top-ranked, somehow., someway; when he can’t even make weight. If anything, he should be ranked in the 205-pound division. I don’t care for the guy, I’ll tell you that. I think it’s a fun fight. I think I can go show him the door. I think you have a guy who f*cking wants to make excuses on wine and weight. His liver’s obviously affected, so let’s go munch on it,” concluded Rockhold.

Having seen a 42-year-old Glover Teixeira and 38-year-old Blachowicz deliver title-winning performances in recent years, it seems Rockhold is fancying his chances for another run for gold.

With the veteran targeting a June return, perhaps he can share the card with Adesanya’s next title defense, expected to be against Jared Cannonier in the same month.

If Rockhold can deliver an impressive performance against a powerhouse like Costa, maybe “The Last Stylebender” will have a new contender to deal with.

How do you think a fight between Luke Rockhold and Paulo Costa would play out?

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