UFC is looking to give Luke Rockhold a tough challenge for his return bout.
The former champion is reportedly being lined up to face Paulo Costa for UFC 277 on July 30th, per a report from Brett Okamoto of ESPN.
Both fighters have reportedly verbally agreed to the fight. If it can be finalized, it will join a pay-per-view lineup that doesn’t have a confirmed location at the moment.
Rockhold has been out of the cage for nearly three years. His last fight dates back to July 2019, when he suffered a finish loss against Jan Blachowicz up at light heavyweight.
Rockhold, 37, will be fighting to earn his first victory since 2017 in his next appearance. He was originally scheduled to make his return to the cage in October 2021 against Sean Strickland, although injury forced him out of that booking.
Costa will also be fighting to get back into the win column the next time he competes. He has taken two consecutive losses in the UFC cage as of late against some of the highest-ranked names at middleweight.
His last fight saw him go five rounds against Marvin Vettori for a unanimous decision loss in October 2021. A year before then, Costa suffered his first pro loss when he was finished by current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.
UFC 277 doesn’t have a known main event at the moment. Here are the few bouts that have been reported for the card thus far:
Bout 3: Derrick Lewis (26-9) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (15-1) (Heavyweight)
Bout 2: Magomed Ankalaev (17-1) vs. Anthony Smith (36-16) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 1: Paulo Costa (13-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (16-5) (Middleweight)