Luke Rockhold returns to action at UFC 278 against Paulo Costa after a three-year hiatus from the sport. The big question on many fans' minds is how the 37 year old will look after so long away from the fight game.
Rockhold is returning off back-to-back knockout losses to Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz. While he didn't address questions regarding his chin, Rockhold did say his new training methods were keeping his body from breaking down while preparing for this comeback fight.
In a new episode of UFC 278 Embedded, Rockhold declared:
"I feel good, I feel great. I feel youthful. I was decaying my body and I wasn't able to move and things weren't there. Bringing back that animalistic behavior, you know, that's when that beauty comes out. It's beautiful to find your best version of yourself. It's a f***ing beautiful thing. It's fun and it's really f***ing fulfilling."
Watch the full UFC 278 Embedded episode below:
While a decaying body certainly wouldn't have helped things, Rockhold primarily blames his 1-3 slump on a bad mindset which saw him trying to juggle fighting and a modeling career. Now he's back with all his nagging injuries healed and a new dedication to fighting.
He'll need to be in top form if he's hoping to beat No. 6 ranked middleweight Paulo Costa.
Luke Rockhold won't be fighting "this chubby Paulo" Costa at UFC 278
Paulo Costa completely messed up the weight cut for his middleweight fight against Marvin Vettori in October 2021, resulting in their fight being contested at light heavyweight. The situation was so bad that Dana White declared Costa was done fighting at middleweight.
Ten months later and the UFC has given 'Borrachinha' another chance to make middleweight. It looks like he's taking advantage of that opportunity. In the latest episode of UFC 278 Embedded, Costa said:
"I am feeling faster. Much faster than before. It's normal because I am lighter. I feel like a monster. Unfortunately, Luke Rockhold has really bad luck. He saw me chubby and thought 'I will fight this chubby Paulo. He is not focused any more. He's got me in my best physical shape ever."
Before Costa went on a two-fight losing streak, he was 13-0 with four impressive knockouts in the UFC. He'll be looking to put his hands on Luke Rockhold and test the former UFC and Strikeforce champion's chin, which hasn't been looking especially durable over the past few years.