Former UFC middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa has stated that he views accepting a fight with Luke Rockhold as a ‘worse case scenario,’ due to the former champ’s unranked status.
Paulo Costa’s most recent UFC appearance was against Marvin Vettori. The bout was shrouded in controversy, as prior to the fight, Costa announced that he would not be making weight. The bout eventually took place at light heavyweight, much to the displeasure of Dana White and the UFC. To make things worse, Costa lost via unanimous decision.
It may be that the UFC are now making their displeasure known, as Costa has stated that the only fight he has been offered since is against Luke Rockhold, who has not fought since a KO loss to Jan Blachowicz in 2019. Rockhold is a former champion at middleweight, but due to his time away from the sport, is not currently ranked.
Speaking in an interview with AG Fight, Costa had the following to say:
“Luke Rockhold has shown an interest in fighting me, but he’s not ranked. I don’t know if that would be the best option. That’s unfortunate, because if he were ranked, that would be a great fight. I don’t think it’s too smart to fight someone who’s not ranked. The rankings are the foundation for everything. The UFC offered me this fight. They have the obligation to do so. It’s in the contract. They offered me Rockhold. I didn’t dismiss it entirely. I said I’d prefer to face someone ranked. Worst case scenario, if there’s nobody else, we fight.” (Transcribed via AG Fight).
Paulo Costa on the Disadvantages of Fighting Rockhold
Paulo Costa also revealed just why he doesn’t want the Rockhold fight, as well as the conditions that would result in him accepting the bout.
“If he comes back to the rankings, then I’d take the fight,” said Costa. “He’s popular, especially in America. That’s a pro. Him not being ranked is a big con. Let me give you an example. Gilbert Burns was the number-two guy and he gave Chimaev an opportunity. He lost. Now where is Burns going? Which spot? Is he going to drop many spots? He’s already down to number four. He might drop more. So fighting an unranked guy is even worse.”
Who do you think would win in a fight between Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold?