When Kelvin Gastelum knocked out Michael Bisping in the first round last month at UFC Shanghai, the former welterweight had hoped his performance might put him on the short list of potential title challengers. Gastelum was subsequently unhappy to discover that Robert Whittaker, the newly promoted champion after Georges St-Pierre vacated his undisputed title, would instead defend his belt for the first time against former champion Luke Rockhold. Needless to say, Gastelum was unhappy about losing out on a chance at the title and claimed that Whittaker chose to fight Rockhold because he was an “easier fight” and Whittaker is “worried about” facing Gastelum.
Well Rockhold didn’t think much of those comments, saying in a recent scrum (courtesy of Submission Radio) that Gastelum hasn’t done enough to deserve a title fight, having just lost to the man he dethroned to win the belt, and that he would “slap that kid down” if the two ever fought.
“I know I’ve proven myself,” Rockhold said. “I’ve accomplished things in this sport, whereas little m**gets like Kelvin Gastelum haven’t. I’ve destroyed Chris Weidman, which he got destroyed by Weidman, so it’s like ehh [shrugs].
“This kid hasn’t beaten really anybody and done anything in this sport, and for him to run his mouth, it’s pretty funny. It’s laughable. He’ll find out real if he continues his efforts at 185. I’d slap that kid down real quick. Real quick.”
A matchup with Gastelum could come somewhere down the line but for now, Rockhold is content with fighting for the title and having some semblance of order return to the middleweight division by fighting the best, something Rockhold says Whittaker will does as a “true champion” and something he respects.
“Whittaker’s been the champ for a long time, so he’s the goal, of course. The best is always the goal, being on top is the goal and Whittaker’s proved himself for a long time now. He’s been on top, he’s beaten all the top guys, he’s the man. . .
“I wanna fight Whittaker, I want to fight the best. It would’ve been – I’m a realist, and I know that neither [Georges St-Pierre nor Michael Bisping], win or lose, would fight any of us. They’re both gonna try and run off, ride off into the sunset and not fight the fight. I respect Whittaker for stepping up and fighting me. I know he had options to take a lesser opponent, the fans wanted this and this is what it is. He’s a true champion, he’s gonna fight the No. 1 contenders.”
Rockhold is confident that when the and Whittaker face off, it will be the two best guys in the division “duking it out,” in part because of his shift in training. A longtime American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) fighter, Rockhold recently left the gym to work with Henri Hooft in Florida, a decision that he says was made because he has to look out for himself and maximize his potential as a fighter.
“No I haven’t been [back to AKA]. I did my last camp in Florida with Henri and the whole team out there, and I’ve got a great thing going. You know, I got complacent back home and did some things. It’s nice to just get away, get a clear head and have nothing to hold me back in a new environment. I’m inspired, I got a lot of good people around me. You know, AKA’s not what it used to be. Like, you get guys filtering in and out, but, I mean, Cain’s [Velasquez] been injured, Khabib’s [Nurmagomedov] always in Russia, DC’s [Daniel Cormier] doing TV. I gotta look out for myself. I love my brothers and my team out there and you’ll see a lot of them in my corner I’m sure, but this is time to be the best I can be and think about myself right now.”
Luke Rockhold challenges Robert Whittaker for the UFC middleweight title on Feb. 11 at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia
$$$. Mayweather-McGregor ended up as the second biggest North American PPV ever.
The MMA Beat.
Learn a little about Julian Marquez before you see him fight.
DJ getting scared while streaming.
Conor getting the straight up US Weekly treatment from TMZ.
Dana in boxing.
The MMA Circus. UFC Fresno recap and UFC Winnipeg preview.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
He used to not be boxing Floyd too.
He’s not Boxing anyone so calm down cry babies.— Dana White (@danawhite) December 15, 2017
DP stays on it.
What's Eddie doing though?— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) December 15, 2017
Funny he was wearing sunglasses when he’s the one who pokes people in the eyes https://t.co/ZYFdeTit4h— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) December 14, 2017
It would appear Colby Covington is screwed.
Just the P4P king shouting out the baddest man on the planet.
Perhaps the first time in history someone tweeted at Jonny Bones thinking he was the other Jon Jones.
All that hustling for Mike might pay off.
I just saw this from #thetruthjackson let’s dance! #CMPunk what do you think #cmpunkarmy #roufusport #routangclan is this Punk’s next opponent in the #ufc ? #Repost @thetruthjackson ・・・ Happy birthday @cmpunk, I have a gift for you. We can celebrate together, bring @dukeroufus and I’ll bring @krubobperez. @andyhemingway #HoustonStrong #HoustonMMA #MMA
One of Tommy’s better efforts in recent memory.
Lewis ready for Austin it seems.
This is the FOURTH double knockdown I've seen in MMA this year. #mmathings— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) December 15, 2017
1. Alan Vasquez vs. Axel Cazares - Shamrock FC 285
2. Maikel Perez vs. Adam Martinez - LFA 10
4. Fedor vs. Matt Mitrione - Bellator NYC
4. Cremey Meiota vs. Jorginho Filho - FLC 6 pic.twitter.com/q85KqDlVl3
Tiffany Teo (7-0) vs. Xiong Jing Nan (10-1); ONE Championship, Jan. 20.
Gilbert Burns (12-2) vs. Oliver Aubin-Mercier (10-2); UFC Orlando, Feb. 24.
Martin Nguyen (10-1) vs. Bibiano Fernandes (21-3); ONE Championship, March 24.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2012: Robert Whittaker made his UFC debut, winning The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes welterweight tournament by taking a unanimous decision over Brad Scott.
If you don’t care about having Star Wars spoiled for you, go check out Colby Covington’s Twitter where he is desperately trying to get people to hate him any way he can.
That’s all for today folks. Enjoy the fights and see y’all Monday.
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Rafael dos Anjos
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