Paulo Costa has been out of action since his five-round epic against Marvin Vettori at the Apex. Pre-fight shenanigans aside, the fight proved that Paulo Costa always comes out to put on a show, which may be the reason the UFC has granted him the opportunity to climb up the contender’s ladder fast.
The title picture at middleweight is getting crowded with established talents like Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori proving they can easily handle their own against fighters not named Israel Adesanya, Jared Cannonier proving he has what it takes to deserve a title shot, and fighters like Brunson who believe they can rise up the ranks before prospects like Alex Periera and Sean Strickland can make it there. The upcoming fight between Costa and Rockhold will decide who gets to rise up the ranks before those gates close.
Luke Rockhold is scheduled to return against Paulo Costa after Light Heavyweight Debut Loss
Luke Rockhold, who became the middleweight Champion after defeating Chris Weidman has been out of action since his last fight against Jan Blachowiczh in July of 2019, where he lost to a brutal KO at the hands of the Polish fighter. Rockhold still believes he can recapture his middleweight title and thinks he has the style to match up against the Stylebender. A win over Costa will put him one step closer to those aspirations.
Costa himself has not been very active, fighting only once since his defeat at the hands of Israel Adesanya at Fight Island. In the single appearance he made, the fight was at risk of being overshadowed by the antics he caused during fight week. Costa, who was supposed to weigh in at 185 pounds, came into fight week weighing 25 pounds over the limit while refusing to cut weight. The fight was shifted to be a catchweight bout, which resulted in one of the best fight night main events of 2021, however leaving Costa’s future in the division doubtful
Dana White said that Costa would never fight again at middleweight during the press conference leading to speculation as to whether the bout between Costa and Rockhold will take place at Light Heavyweight since Rockhold’s last fight was his debut in the division.