A middleweight showdown between Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold is reportedly in the works for an as-yet unnamed UFC event on August 20th.
The 37-year-old Rockhold is returning to action after a three-year layoff following back-to-back KO losses in the Octagon against Yoel Romero and Yan Blachowicz in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The latter of those two fights had seen the former middleweight champion moving up to light-heavyweight, but his return sees him head back down to 185lbs, where his last victory came about in 2017 with a TKO finish against David Branch.
As for Costa, he too is coming off back-to-back losses, having been TKO’d by Israel Adesanya in their title encounter in 2020, and then suffering a unanimous decision loss to Marvin Vettori in October of last year.
That last fight was controversial as it had initially been agreed to take place at middleweight, but Costa was nowhere close to making weight during fight week and eventually managed to convince his opponent to take the fight at 205lbs on short-notice.
It’s antics like that which have cast Costa as something of a villain in the UFC at this time, but though recent results haven’t gone his way he’s still a dangerous fighter who amassed a 13-0 record, including 12 stoppages, leading up to his title shot.
As such, Costa still holds the No.4 spot on the middleweight rankings heading into this match-up, while Rockhold’s long layoff means he’s currently unranked.