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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Rockhold, Costa Spar Over Weight, Age During Presser

Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold, UFC 278 press conference Photo: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

UFC 278 is quickly approaching, and the co-main event players were arguably the most vocal in their pre-fight press conference on Thursday.

While Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards return in the main event of the PPV card, former middleweight champion Luke Lockhold and one-time title challenger Paul Costa stand out in a shared feature. There was no love lost between the pair in Salt Lake City on Thursday, with the pair bickering over topics including clothes, age and weight.

When asked about returning from a multi-year absence, Rockhold (16-5) exclaimed that things felt “getting better” as the fight loomed. “Honestly, it feels so fucking good. It feels right.”

Despite Costa’s black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Rockhold also didn’t hesitate to predict that he “would be treated like a dog if Paul lands”.

“This guy. This guy, he’s too old to talk shit like this,” Costa shot back. “Come on man. Come on.”

“This bastard didn’t want a fight in the first place. The UFC got it down his throat and he delayed it twice,” Lockhold later told the media and fans in attendance at the Vivint Arena, alluding to the Brazilian allegedly doing some cosmetic surgery. “Month after month, all the cosmetic crap you do, you little bitch. Shut up.”

When asked by a reporter if he was surprised by the energy Rockhold brought, Costa noted that “energy doesn’t matter on the day of the fight.”

“We’re going to be in the same cage, me and him. It’s just me and him. We’re going to see who’s more dynamic, who’s more powerful, who’s more willing to win this fight.”

Costa has referenced Rockhold’s age and outfit more than once, suggesting the former champion is dressing to look younger. The former champion is 37 and Costa himself is 31. Rockhold, in turn, questioned Costa’s ability to gain weight. The last time the Brazilian played, he forced his fight against Marvin Vittori to bump all the way from middleweight to light heavyweight.

“Are you going to lose weight? Are you fucking going to lose weight?” Rockhold asked.

The Brazilian’s response wasn’t what he wanted: just another “fuck you”.

In the intense stares at the press conference on Thursday that followed, Dana White could be heard telling Costa that the Brazilian “scared me” when he came to power. White will definitely keep his arm between the two — but there will be no difference between Paul Costa and Luke Rockhold in Saturday’s UFC 278 co-main event.

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