Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is out to prove to himself that he remains one of the top 185lbers in the world at UFC 278.
Rockhold will face former title challenger Paulo Costa in the UFC 278 co-main event tonight in Salt Lake City, UT. It’s been a long time coming for Rockhold as it’s been more than three years since his last fight in the Octagon.
Rockhold’s light heavyweight tryout didn’t go according to plan against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239 as he lost via second-round knockout. Now, he’s returning to the division that he once reigned over as he looks to make a statement against Costa.
Many fans and pundits have more questions than answers as Rockhold prepares for his return, but he has reflected on the past version of himself and looks to show off a reformed version of the former middleweight champion.
Luke Rockhold Is Out To Prove He Remains An Elite Middleweight
During a recent interview with Shakiel Mahjouri, Rockhold opened up on what’s on the line for him against Costa.
“Once you reach that pinnacle, you know, I was Strikeforce champion and everyone was like, ‘Who’s the real champion? who’s the best?'” Rockhold explained. “So, I always had a real something to prove to myself. And once you reach that mountain peak, I’m the guy that’s just like, once I’m at the top of the mountain, what’s next? I did it for the wrong reasons.
“I chased it and I wanted to out-perform myself, started thinking about making money and not just winning world championships,” Rockhold continued. “I’m not thinking about making money, I’m thinking about f*cking fighting. I’m thinking about doing myself justice, and going out there and showing everyone who I am. Accessing that Luke Rockhold is the key.”
Rockhold’s middleweight return was pushed back a year after suffering a back injury ahead of his scheduled fight with Sean Strickland at UFC 268. Despite the long layoff, he feels the time off has worked to his advantage and forced him to re-evaluate his fighting career.
Rockhold earned the middleweight title by defeating Chris Weidman at UFC 194. He would go on to suffer a stunning first-round knockout to Michael Bisping in his first title defense before losing two of his next three fights.
Rockhold seems to be in a great place mentally ahead of tonight’s clash at UFC 278 and he’ll look to put a stamp on his long journey back to the Octagon with a triumphant showing against Costa.
Do you think Luke Rockhold will defeat Paulo Costa at UFC 278?