Luke Rockhold returned after more than three years away from MMA at UFC 278. The former Strikeforce and UFC world champion jumped into the fire against No. 6 ranked contender Paulo Costa in the evening’s co-main event.
The two fighters put on a somewhat bizarre, but highly entertaining bout that saw Costa walk away with a unanimous decision win. Emanating from the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Rockhold, who was noticeably exhausted following the opening round, pushed forward giving fans an incredible showing in what is likely his final fight inside the UFC.
Appearing on ‘The MMA Hour’ with Ariel Helwani, Luke Rockhold discussed the bout with Paulo Costa, but his comments quickly shifted gears, taking aim at UFC President Dana White. Lukehold has been critical of White and the UFC for multiple reasons, including fighter pay and his own perceived disrespect that he received from the UFC’s top brass.
“You gotta go out on your sword right? Or your shield, whatever they say. I’m just here to fight. People lose track of who I am, who I was, and what I’ve done. Everyone was like, ‘if you don’t need this and want this, what’s going to get you up in those moments?’ It’s f*cked up. Why do you think I was so mad at Dana [White]. It’s because Dana never gave me a chance. The moment I came to the UFC, he never gave me a f*cking chance.
“He wrote me off, never highlighted my years in Strikeforce or anything I did on my wins. Only my losses. Dana White controls the narrative of what the public perceives and he f*cked me from the start. It took me 16-17 years to come back, have a fight like that and earn my respect. Nothing I did in the past mattered until now. That’s why I feel the way I feel sometimes. That’s why I say the things I say.
“The power that you have in that situation with the narrative you create. The public believes what they want to believe. What you tell them to believe.”
As the UFC 278 co-main event was going down, YouTuber turned professional boxer Jake Paul was heavily critical of Rockhold’s performance which struck a chord with Ariel Helwani. When asked about his thoughts on Jake Paul, Rockhold said:
“I don’t really give relevance to idiots. I’m tired of doing that. I saw what you sent to me. I thought the kid had a better head on his shoulders. Thought he was doing better for the sport like he said. It was cool. I seen him stand up for respect of the sport, but then the hate got to him and made him feel insecure about his hate. So he tried to put that off on me.
“Who the f*ck are you? You’re doing handicapped fighting so don’t talk. You’re fighting guys that are smaller than you, Everything you’re doing… I don’t think I’m gonna open my mouth about you [Paul]. Don’t open your mouth about me. You don’t f*cking understand what fighting is.
“I don’t need to give relevance to some dumb kid.”
Rockcock vs Paulo is embarrassing
This a glorified street fight
Both ez money. #UFC278
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) August 21, 2022
Luke Rockholds Confirms His Retirement From MMA
Speaking to Ariel Helwani, Luke Rockhold confirmed that his UFC 278 scrap was indeed the last of his storied career in mixed martial arts.
“I see that as my end of fighting, yes. I’m still gonna train. I’m gonna train… That is what I lost sight of. I went so far down a f*cking hole of chasing the f*cking white horse. Alcohol and drugs and I beat my body down over so many years. Not just the [last] three years, but the years before that too. I was always thinking, ‘where am I gonna go and party?’
“It was like a world of exclusivity where you’re not allowed here and you’re not allowed there. I thought, ‘f*ck that, I’m gonna conquer that world too.’ You want to give this world the perception of what everyone perceives is cool and get to the top of that world. But when you get to the top of that world, there ain’t nothing there. Ain’t nothing f*cking there. It was nice to hit that low and find my way back.”
If this is indeed the end of Luke Rockhold’s career, he will finish with a record of 16-6-0. Debuting in 2007, Rockhold secured wins over some of the best to step in the cage including Ronaldo ‘Jacre’ Souza, Michael Bisping, Lyota Machida, and Chris Weidman. Rockhold is a former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight world champion.