Luke Rockhold tears up Paulo Costa in expletive-filled tirade;  Costa promises to withdraw him at UFC 278

Luke Rockhold tears up Paulo Costa in expletive-filled tirade; Costa promises to withdraw him at UFC 278

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 the lost time in a rant of expletives against opponent Paulo Costa.

Rockhold, the co-headliner of Saturday’s UFC 278, took main event status during his exchange with Costa and initially accused the Brazilian of doing everything he could to avoid that fight.

“That motherfucker didn’t want to take the fight in the first place,” Rockhold said. “The UFC put it down his throat and then he postponed it twice, month after month and all the cosmetic bulls he did. You little bastard, shut up.”

Costa smiled in response as he scoffed at Rockhold’s claims while poking fun at the tone of the rhetoric that came from his 37-year-old opponent.

“Come on this guy is too old to say that kind of cop ***. Come on,” Costa said. “You’re too old to say that kind of cops ***.

“He can say these cops ***. I don’t feed on an older man as he is. On the day of the fight it doesn’t matter. We’re going to be tight in the same cage, just me and him, and we’re going to see who has more energy, who has more power and more will to win this fight.”

UFC President Dana White dismissed a reporter’s question as to whether Rockhold’s allegation was true, saying: “Who gives what? You made it here.”

During a later exchange, Costa mocked the outfit Rockhold wore on stage, adding that the ex-champ tried to dress like a “teenager”. The veteran American Kickboxing Academy fighter fired back.

“I’m old, I’m young. What am I?” Rockhold yelled. “Shut up.”

The back-and-forth didn’t slow – Rockhold did his part in firing back at almost everything Costa had to say on the mic.

A particularly heated moment came when Rockhold questioned Costa’s will to win in the face of adversity. The ex-champ asked him how much he weighed less than 24 hours before they would step on the scale with a goal of hitting 186lbs or less.

“Have you ever dealt with adversity?” Rockhold said before referring to Costa’s infamous weight error in a previous fight against Marvin Vettori. “The one time you were struggling with adversity, you lost 20 frigging pounds.

“My question, how much do you weigh? We all want to know. will you make weight Are you going to do damn weight?”

Costa, who spoke only in English during the press conference, simply fired back at Rockhold with a “f*** you” before making his prediction on the end of their fight.

“I’m in my prime,” he said. “I’m going to finish off this old man on Saturday. He’s visibly uncomfortable knowing he’s about to face a monster. He already knows. Look at him, he’s uncomfortable. I will retire him on Saturday.”

After the press conference concluded, Costa and Rockhold stomped towards each other on stage while UFC President Dana White stood ready to stay between them. No argument broke out, however, as Costa told Rockhold to “be cool” as they first came face-to-face during fight week.

The middleweights will stare again at Friday’s ceremonial weigh-in before their final cage clash at UFC 278 on Saturday.