by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
As Strikeforce expands over the coming year, more of their young up and coming talent looks to factor into whether or not the company can sustain a level of success.
Among those pointed out by the company’s Director of Communications, Mike Afromowitz, as one of those future stars to bank upon is American Kickboxing Academy middleweight Luke Rockhold.
Having won his last three fights in a row, all for the Strikeforce promotion, within the first round, it is easy to see why this multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion has garnished the promotion’s praise.
“It’s definitely a little bit of weight on your shoulders, but you try not to let it affect what you’ve been doing your whole life,” said Rockhold of high expectations placed upon him. “I’ve been training hard, and am going to keep training hard and not try to change at all.
“As long as I go out there and perform – not focus on winning or losing – and just try to meet my potential, nobody can really step up to me if I do what I need to do.”
It’s that potential that Rockhold put on display at Strikeforce’s event earlier this month, as he dispatched well regarded Buck Meredith in just over four minutes.
“I’m happy with it ending nice and quick,” he stated. “I don’t want to show too much. I’ve got some good stand-up, but I don’t want to stray away from what I’m best at – my wrestling and jiu-jitsu.
“There’s a time and place for stand-up, but if I can take it to the ground and finish it, I’m going to. I kind of expected a Team Quest guy to have good wrestling and submission defense, but they don’t really train in jiu-jitsu as I’ve come to see.”
With the abundance of shows Strikeforce is set to put on in the coming year, we could see a lot more of Rockhold, which fits right in with his plans.
“I’m looking at fighting maybe four more times, maybe five, it just depends on what Javier (Mendez) turns up,” he commented. “We’re trying to work out when I’m going to fight next; it’s pretty busy schedule for Strikeforce with all their new fighters.
“I’m just looking at one fight at a time, and June would be ideal. I’m also looking at doing the Abu Dhabi trials at the end of May. That’s always been a dream of mine, to be at Abu Dhabi, so if I can win the trials and get in, I’d like to try that out.”
Regardless of when he fights next, Rockhold is content to continue to work his way up the ranks and take on all comers.
“I’m ready for quite a few people that I match up well with,” he said. “I have preferences and stuff, but I trust Bob (Cook) and Javier for picking my opponents, so I’m really okay with anything that comes my way right now.
“I don’t want to slow down. I’m tried of being broke and living fight to fight. I want to step it up and want to start doing things.”
With high praise from both Strikeforce officials and his coaches at AKA, it might not be long before Rockhold finds himself transitioning from up and comer to veteran star in the coming years.
“I want to give thanks to Santa Cruz Skate Shop and Surf Shop, Inspirit USA Clothing, and SCORE Clinic for keeping my body intact,” concluded Rockhold.
“Definitely for everyone out there, look out. I’m going to come up and not show any signs of stepping back, just moving forward.”