Salt Lake City, UT — Many were expecting a short fight in the UFC 278 co-main event on Saturday, which saw former middleweight champ Luke Rockhold paired up with Paulo Costa.
Instead, the pair went a grueling three rounds, with both men hurting the other, and Brazil’s Costa walking away with the decision win — following which Rockhold announced his retirement.
After failing to secure a finish despite a couple of opportunities presenting themselves, Costa (14-2) told media outlets including Cageside Press that ‘I tried, I tried my best. I think, how I’m coming from two losses, unconsciously, I was little bit conservative. More conservative. I feel like I could do a little bit more to finish this fight in the first round when I got a good opportunity. I didn’t, but I need to give good credit to Luke Rockhold. He came in good shape, good condition for his last fight in his career. He came to get the win, he [didn’t] come to lose.”
Rockhold notably spent part of the third round rubbing his own blood into Costa’s face in a scene straight out of a horror movie. Costa isn’t sure why Rockhold took that approach — frustration perhaps, or anger — but admitted that “I [took] a very long shower after the fight.”
Despite the exhausting nature of the bout, Costa says he’ll be good to go soon. The question is against who, or where, as the Brazilian said he may have one fight at most left on his current UFC deal.
“I’m good. It was a war, it was a very tough fight, but I can fight in a couple months, maybe two months,” said Costa. “I’d like to fight in December or end of November. But I know we have UFC Rio, Brazil in January. So maybe I can wait a little bit more.”
As far as his contract status, “I don’t know if this is my last fight,” Costa added. “I need to check somewhere with the people. If this is the last fight, so I have no more on the contract, I need to sit down and [give] attention and look at which is better for my future.”
“If I have one more, let’s see what Dana White has [for] me. I’m pretty sure they do an amazing job making these exciting fights happen.”
Youtube creator turned celebrity boxer Jake Paul claimed Costa’s fight with Rockhold was a “glorified” street fight after the dust had settled. That’s a match-up Paulo Costa would welcome.
Rockcock vs Paulo is embarrassing
This a glorified street fight
Both ez money. #UFC278
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) August 21, 2022
“Okay, so if this is the last one, Jake Paul is very welcome to send an offer or contract. We can do this boxing fight,” Costa said. “I don’t know if he wants this blood. I think he wants to fight wrestlers or something like that.”
Watch the full UFC 278 post-fight press conference with Paulo Costa above.