Luke Rockhold Claims Khamzat Chimaev Turned Down Fight: “Wise Move For Him”

Luke Rockhold is set to make his return against Paulo Costa after Khamzat Chimaev turned down the fight

Luke Rockhold, Khamzat Chimaev
Credit: Luke Rockhold, Khamzat Chimaev (via Facebook)

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will return to action in the UFC against Paulo Costa.

Having last competed in an unsuccessful effort at light heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz in July 2019, Luke Rockhold is slated to make his comeback after a two-year hiatus this July 30 at UFC 277.

After dethroning Chris Weidman to become the middleweight king, Rockhold went on to drop three in his next four. The 37-year-old lost the belt in his first bout as champion to Michael Bisping. Being out of competition for close to three years now, speculation over whether Rockhold’s time in the octagon was over kept growing.

In an interview with ESPN MMA, Luke Rockhold signed the contract to fight Costa live and opened up about his return to the cage.

“[The challenge] gets me up in the morning. I’m not here to fight bums. I’m here to fight people that have proven their worth, that gets me excited. I don’t get excited to get up and fight f—king idiots. Honestly, the Sean Strickland thing wasn’t that motivating. Paulo, he’s tested himself against the best and he’s just a f—king piece of s—t, he’s a meathead. So there’s certain parts about him that just get me excited to go correct the situation and get back on top. I want people that motivate me.”

Luke Rockhold says Chimaev turned down the fight

Originally matched up for a contest against Sean Strickland, Luke Rockhold was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury. There were also talks of a return against the hottest rising prospect in the promotion, Khamzat Chimaev before Costa was finalized.

During the same interview, Rockhold shared more details regarding the rumored showdown.

“Khamzat didn’t take the fight, by the way, we were set to fight. He wanted to stay at 170. I think that was a wise move for him at this point.”

Chimaev last fought against former title challenger Gilbert Burns in his toughest challenge yet. ‘Borz’ managed to come out on top in a close-fought contest that was at welterweight. Rockhold will likely not fight Chimaev unless the Chechen moves up to 185-lbs.

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