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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun and Ken Hathaway

Luke Rockhold: ‘Weak-minded’ Paulo Costa does not know how to deal with adversity

SALT LAKE CITY – Luke Rockhold thinks Paulo Costa is a quitter and he plans on breaking him.

Rockhold (16-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) meets Costa (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 278 co-main event at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ABC/ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Costa’s most recent outing against Marvin Vettori at UFC Fight Night 196 took place at 205 pounds after the Brazilian had trouble making the middleweight mark. Costa lost that fight by unanimous decision and Rockhold thinks his inability to handle everything was a sign of weakness.

“Adversity makes a man,” Rockhold told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Wednesday’s UFC 278 media day. “He has not been able to deal with adversity. It’s only getting worse. We’ll see who the man (is who) shows up. This is the real test. The first loss is one thing, and he used weight as a weakness. That’s what he did. He missed weight. He tried to pull the 10 pounds up, and he didn’t use that. That is an advantage he’s trying to seek because he is a f*cking weak-minded motherf*cker. But now the real test is here.”

Rockhold will look to take Costa’s confidence early and thinks he’s too dangerous for him both on the outside and inside.

“Yeah, 100 percent (I’m too dangerous),” Rockhold said. “You saw the recipe with what Israel (Adesanya) did. It’s not forcing the issue, though, like I’ve done in the past – is trying the false sense of confidence, like trying to intimidate right off the bat. Dominick Cruz went in, right off the bat he tried to come off (against Marlon Vera), and it’s not him. He showed weakness, and ‘Chito,’ you knew he was in his head already. So assessing and attacking at the right time, but you’ve got to show that man you’re the bigger man. Like I said – adversity, he does not know how to deal with it.

“He’s a man that fights out of emotion and intimidation. If you give him that, he’ll run with it. I’m a dangerous striker from the outside. He’s got to cross that line. He’s got to get to the inside. He’s got to get at me. With that being said, if you cross that line, you misstep, you slip, you fall – wrestling and grappling and all these things, there’s a big f*cking gap between me and him, and if he misses that step, this game is over.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 278.

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