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Morning Report: Luke Rockhold frustrated with return plans: ‘There’s a lot of guys but none of them want to sign the contract’

UFC ‘Go Big’ press conference photos
Luke Rockhold
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Luke Rockhold’s road back to the UFC is proving more difficult than he imagined it would be.

Last year, Rockhold announced that after an extended hiatus he was looking to return to MMA and make one more run at the middleweight title. At the time, Rockhold was targeting a return fight against rival Chris Weidman, however with Weidman recently suffering a catastrophic leg injury, that fight is clearly not an option, but even outside of that, Rockhold is apparently struggling to find a return opponent that suits him. Speaking with Helen Yee recently, the former middleweight champion lamented the current state of the 185-pound division, saying that thus far none of the top-ranked guys have been willing to fight him.

“There’s a lot of guys but none of them want to sign the contract. Everyone wants to run around,” Rockhold said. “There’s guys that make sense. Uriah Hall was an option - he didn’t want that. Kevin Holland was an option - doesn’t seem like that was an option. (Darren) Till was thrown around, I think people jumped on that one. I’m not opposed to anyone, (Paulo_ Costa, anybody in that range. I mean, the Italian kid (Marvin Vettori) jumped - he beat Kevin Holland and he got a title fight. I just don’t understand that. He beat a guy coming off a loss.

“A lot of these guys need to be proven, need to be tested and I’m pretty sure I came off a world title fight. I’ve been inactive but I needed the time off but there’s also injuries and everything I had to assess and then had to take care of. So it’s not exactly my choice but the time off has suited me well. I’ve healed all my issues and I’m ready to go. I just need a fight, an opponent, a contract.”

Rockhold is not exactly coming off a world title fight as he suggested. Rockhold’s last bout was a failed move up to 205 pounds in July of 2019 where he was knocked out by Jan Blachowicz. Rockhold went on to clarify this while also reaffirming his larger point that despite his recent record and inactivity, he believes his credentials outweigh any ranking number.

“I’m here, I’m working, I’m coming,” Rockhold said. “These guys they’re sitting there trying to protect, saying I’m unranked, trying to see what they want to do but guess what, my last fight was against Yoel Romero. He missed weight (and) it was a world title fight. that was at ‘85, then I’m fighting the prospective number one contender who is the champion right now at light heavyweight. My record and my status speaks for itself and these kids haven’t really done anything so they don’t have room to talk and run. They need to step up and earn their name in the game.”

Rockhold’s credentials are nothing to sneeze at. A former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion, Rockhold holds notable wins over the likes of Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, Lyoto Machida, and Jacare Souza.

Rockhold also seems willing to fight just about anyone currently in the middleweight top-ten aside from Derek Brunson, who is a training partner of his. Aside from Brunson though, Rockhold threw out a number of names but says it’s just a matter of the UFC making it happen.

“I’ve been working hard, doing everything on my side I can do and I’m just waiting for a contract to be presented that’s something that gets me excited,” Rockhold said. “I’ve waited this long, I’ve done this much in the sport, I’m not coming back just to come back. I’m coming back to get myself excited and I want to get the fans excited and I want to make a run. I know I can. When I’m healthy, I’m focused, I’m present, I just don’t see many people that can compete with me.”


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In an interview with The Schmo, Rockhold also dropped this pearl of wisdom.

“You know I wish him all the best. You know, that’s a tough one. I don’t know what it is like to have those little feminine shins, you know? I don’t know, because I broke mine first kick of the fight but somehow it didn’t break. Just stood strong.”

He then almost immediately followed it up with saying you’ve got to let old beefs go with regard to him and Michael Bisping burying the hatchet.

Luke Rockhold, everyone!

Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.



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