Luke Rockhold wants to fight Costa Philippou at UFC on FOX 7

Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

Luke Rockhold watches Strikeforce's biggest names receive their UFC debut fights and wonders when his number will be called.

The last Strikeforce middleweight champion told MMAFighting.com recently that he has yet to receive his marching orders from the UFC but is back to training after suffering a wrist injury and ready to make his Octagon debut.

In fact, Rockhold has a candidate in mind for his first UFC fight.

"I think Costa Philippou makes the most sense right now," he said. "He's coming off a win, and I think he's a good opponent. Let's get it on at [UFC on FOX 7]."

UFC on FOX 7, which is scheduled for April 20, already features former Strikeforce stars Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier taking on Benson Henderson and Frank Mir, respectively, in high-profile fights. That card takes place at the unofficial home of Strikeforce, the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., which is also the home of the American Kickboxing Academy, where both Rockhold and Cormier, among others, train.

Philippou (12-2, 1 NC) didn't respond to MMAFighting.com's request for a comment, but his manager Lex McMahon called Rockhold's idea "a great fight." McMahon added that he has yet to talk to Philippou about his next fight.

Rockhold (10-1), a winner in his last nine fights, said he will be paying close attention to this weekend's UFC on FX 7 main event fight between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort, which will have major ramifications on the middleweight division.

"I want Bisping to stay on the up and up so I can knock him out, but I want Belfort to win because that would open a path to Anderson [Silva].

"I want the fight that gets me to Anderson as fast as I can. I believe I can fight him like no one else can. I want that opportunity because I believe I'm the No. 1 contender."

If Belfort wins on Saturday night, that would leave Rockhold and Weidman as only real options left for Silva at 185 pounds right now. Rockhold recognizes this and hopes to get to Silva first.

"I want to fight Silva before Weidman does because I think he might beat him," he said.

In the end, though, Rockhold really likes the idea of debuting in front of the familiar San Jose crowd.

"I want to debut in the Bay Area," he said. "I'm a Bay Area boy. So if anyone wants to step up, that would be great."

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