Rockhold fought for the first time in over three years on Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 278. However, former champion Luke Rockhold criticized the UFC for fighter compensation and promotion president Dana White in particular in the lead-up to his bout with former middleweight championship contender Paulo Costa.
At the Friday ceremonial weigh-ins, Rockhold looked more concerned about his bout with Costa than his criticism of White, which might have made for an awkward exchange. The fight went the distance, but in UFC 278 Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) prevailed over Rockhold (16-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) by way of majority decision.
Rockhold, who was a bloody mess after the loss, told Joe Rogan after the bout that it was likely his last fight due to his age (he’s 37) and injuries (he’s had several in recent years).
“I think that coming into a situation like both of theirs, there’s a lot of pressure,” White said.
“There’s a lot of stress. And listen, you know me – who’s more ‘freedom of speech’ than me? He’s entitled to his own opinions and his own whatever it is that went on this week.
“But let me tell you what: I’ll never say anything about him. I totally respect him. And after that war tonight, normal humans like us that are sitting in this room have no idea what those two went through tonight in that octagon – and we never will, thank f*cking God, OK? For both of them to dig as deep as they did and put on an absolute dogfight like they did, I have nothing but respect for both of them. Are they both a little nutty? Absolutely. But nothing but respect.”