It’s been more than three years since Luke Rockhold took the stage at a UFC press conference, but the one-time middleweight champion made up for lost time in an expletive rant aimed at opponent Paulo Costa.
Rockhold, the co-headliner of Saturday’s UFC 278, seized main event status during his exchanges with Costa, first accusing the Brazilian of doing everything possible to avoid this fight.
“This motherf****** didn’t want to go into battle in the first place,” Rockhold said. “The UFC forced it down his throat and then he put it off twice, month after month and all the cosmetic bulls*** he got done. You little bastard, shut up.”
Costa was all smiles as he made fun of Rockhold’s claims while mocking the tone of his 37-year-old opponent’s rhetoric.
“Come on, this man is too old to say bulls like this***. Come on,” Costa said. “You’re too old to say bulls like this***.
“He can say this is bulls***. I don’t feed on an older man as he is. It doesn’t matter on the day of the fight. We will be close in the same cage, just me and him and we will see who has more energy, who has more strength and more will to win this fight.”
UFC President Dana White dismissed a reporter’s question as to whether Rockhold’s accusation was true, replying, “Who cares if ***? They made it here.”
During a later exchange, Costa mocked the outfit Rockhold was wearing on stage, adding that the ex-champion tried to dress like a “teenager.” The veteran American Kickboxing Academy fighter fired back.
“I am old, I am young. What am I?” shouted Rockhold. “Shut up.”
The back and forth didn’t slow down – Rockhold did his part to fire back at almost everything Costa had to say over the mic.
A particularly heated moment came when Rockhold questioned Costa’s will to win despite adversity. The ex-champion asked him how much he weighed in less than 24 hours before stepping on the scales with the goal of hitting 186 pounds or less.
“Have you ever faced adversity?” Rockhold said before referring to Costa’s infamous weight miss in a previous match against Marvin Vettori. “The one time you faced adversity, you lost 20 f****** pounds.
My question is what is your weight? We all want to know. Are you going to lose weight? Are you going to put on the damn weight?”
Speaking only in English during the press conference, Costa simply fired back a “f*** you” at Rockhold before making his prediction about how their fight will end.
“I have my prime time,” he said. “I’ll fuck this old man on Saturday. He is visibly uncomfortable knowing he will encounter a monster. He already knows. Look at him, he doesn’t feel comfortable. I will retire him on Saturday.”
Once the press conference ended, Costa and Rockhold stomped on the podium with UFC President Dana White ready to stay between them. However, no altercation happened, as Costa told Rockhold to “be cool” when they first faced face-to-face during fight week.
The middleweights will stare one more time at Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins before finally crashing into the cage on Saturday at UFC 278.
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