Friday, 24 April 2020

Luke Rockhold wants a UFC return but can he test the current crop?

By Alistair Hendrie

Since Luke Rockhold last won a UFC contest in September 2017 a lot has changed. The 185lbs title he once wore has switched hands three times and three of the American’s last four victims – Lyoto Machida, Michael Bisping and David Branch – have either retired or left the UFC. But after Rockhold suffered a pair of knockouts between 2018 and 2019, leading to concerns for his welfare, the polarising middleweight is now considering stepping back into the Octagon.

“I’m getting healthier, and I might be getting an itch (to fight again)” Rockhold told MMA UK. “We’ll see… If Anderson Silva is still interested and seemingly he is. Maybe, you never know.” UFC president Dana White and former foe Michael Bisping had urged Rockhold to leave the sport after his dip in form and since going on hiatus last summer, Rockhold has acted in a film, Cage Fighter: Worlds Collide, in order to keep his options open for a career after MMA.

After all, White and Bisping’s advice was understandable. Yoel Romero broke Rockhold’s jaw when blasting through the Californian in February 2018, while Jan Blachowicz’s punches sent the American Kickboxing Academy man clattering to the mat, stiff as a board, in a light-heavyweight contest in July 2019. The ex-Strikeforce 185lbs leader still has the desire to compete but over the course of his 1-2 skid, Nigerian stylist Israel Adesanya has swaggered into the UFC, vanquished eight foes and taken the middleweight crown. That’s the standard Rockhold will be stepping up to, if he does decide to fight on.

Learn who Rockhold might face on his comeback by reading the full article at Fighters Only

Check out Alistair Hendrie’s Kindle book, Fight Game: The Untold Story of Women’s MMA in Britain, featuring insight from Rosi Sexton, Joanne Calderwood and more

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