Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-5) will finally be making his return to the octagon. Combate reported yesterday that an agreement is in place for Rockhold to return in August to take on former title challenger Paulo Costa (13-2).
The matchup will take place at a UFC event on August 20th. It is not known yet whether or not this contest will be a main event, but nevertheless, it’s a good one that will go down in August.
Paulo Costa will be fighting his last fight on his current UFC deal and he’s entering this fight on a two-fight losing streak. After starting out a perfect 13-0 in his professional career, Borrachinha got a shot at the middleweight title.
At UFC 253 on Fight Island, Costa challenged Israel Adesanya. Costa looked extremely flat and not aggressive in that fight as Adesanya picked him apart on his way to a second round finish. Costa blamed the lackluster performance on the wine that he drank to help himself sleep the night before the fight.
After some contract back-and-forth with the UFC, Costa returned in October to face Marvin Vettori. Despite the fight being agreed to at middleweight, Costa showed up on fight week and stated he couldn’t make 185 pounds. As a result, the UFC shifted the fight to light heavyweight.
It was a very solid fight, but once against, Costa came up short. This is a big fight for Costa’s future. If he wants to make more money and stay with the UFC, he needs a win and a big performance. A loss could send him into the land of the unknown.
UFC Champion Returns
We haven’t seen Luke Rockhold in the octagon since UFC 239 in 2019. That night, he made his light heavyweight debut against Jan Blachowicz. Rockhold was hoping that he would be able to secure a shot against Jon Jones with a win.
However, Rockhold was knocked out by Blachowicz which was his third knockout loss in four fights. With that loss, Rockhold decided to take some time away from the UFC and think about his career. It was not clear whether or not he’d fight again.
He decided he wanted to keep going and was booked to face Sean Strickland back in November. However, an injury forced Rockhold out and his return had to wait. Now, he’s healthy and the UFC is giving him a tough test in his return.
If he can come out and beat Costa handily, it will show everyone that Rockhold is still a threat at 185 pounds. However, a bad loss could end his career for good.