Luke Rockhold ‘More Than Prepared’ to Take UFC Middleweight Title

May 5, 2015
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With his second-round finish of Lyoto Machida (22-6) at UFC on Fox 15 on April 18, Luke Rockhold (14-2) emerged as the top contender in the middleweight division. His dominating performance earned him a post-fight bonus and likely earned him a title shot against the winner of champion Chris Weidman (12-0) and Vitor Belfort (24-10), who fight at UFC 187 on May 23.

The 30-year-old Californian doesn’t care who he ends up fighting, but hopes Weidman retains his belt.

“Really, I win either way. Either way I think it’s a beautiful match-up for me on both ends. It’s a big sell. We got Weidman. You got east coast, west coast, you got an all-American battle, and you got the true champ. I mean the guy went out there and dominated – this would be his third Brazilian legend in a row. So he would undeniably be the best out there in middleweight for some time,” Rockhold recently told Submission Radio.

Rockhold and Belfort have history. Belfort knocked out the former Strikeforce champion in Rockhold’s UFC debut in May 2013 in highlight reel fashion. The defeat snapped a nine-fight winning streak for Rockhold. It’s a loss that he would like to avenge.

Luke Rockhold SF0409_7394-750x370“With Vitor, then you got bad blood. Then you got that genuine rivalry, and you got me coming for revenge. I love it either way. I’m looking to go out there and prove myself as the best fighter in the world. I think either way I accomplish that. [If] Weidman goes out there and beats Vitor, makes it look easy, I think we all know that story. I come out there and beat Weidman. On top of that, that proves that I’m the best in the world,” said the American Kickboxing Academy trained athlete.

“I’m the better guy [than Belfort]. I got caught by a lucky kick. I go out there and get that revenge against Vitor and there’d be nothing sweeter. Nothing sweeter. Either way, it’s a beautiful situation for me. I think Weidman is a better fighter, I think he wins, and truthfully that’s why I like the guy. I’d prefer him to win,” added Rockhold.

If Weidman retains his title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 23, Rockhold likes the way he matches up against the champion.

RELATED > VIDEO: Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold Go Face-to-Face After Rockhold’s Win

“I’d say that I’m going to employ my will on the feet. I’ve got more weapons on the feet. You can’t outwrestle me. Weidman’s biggest strength is his wrestling and his pressure, and I’m not a guy that he can just come in there and pressure and outwrestle and dominate. Not at this size, not at middleweight, not anywhere really that much. I’m in there training with DC [Daniel Cormier] and Cain [Velasquez], so I’m used to big wrestlers that try to bully me,” he said.

“Obviously I feel comfortable on the ground. I think my grappling is second to none and I believe I’m the better striker in that match-up. So it’s just controlling and just hitting him on the feet and making him pay for trying to wrestle me,” added Rockhold.

“Weidman’s that champion. He’s a tough, tough guy. I respect him in so many ways. He’s got power, he’s got wrestling, but I’m more than prepared to take that title.”

Rockhold doesn’t extend the same respect to Belfort that he does to Weidman.  In fact, he calls into question the former Testosterone Replacement Therapy user’s entire career.  Before receiving TRT therapeutic exemptions, Belfort tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone following his PRIDE 32 loss to Dan Henderson in 2006.  TRT use was banned in mixed martial arts in February 2014.

“Vitor is a joke. I’ll say it and I’ll say it again. The guy hasn’t fought clean once in his whole life. I think his whole career is a joke. But I’d be more than willing to go out there and finish that one too. That’s my opinion,” he said.

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  • burgerman7

    Luke Vic would kill u again but make it look easier this time! You better pray Weidman wins .You know it!

    • Seth

      …Seriously? Vitor “No-Balls” Belfort without TRT would have a problem to handle someone like Camozzi…keep dreaming he has a chance against beast like Weidman…

      • Groinstrike

        Belfort without TRT KO’d Rich Franklin, Matt Lindland Terry Martin, Yoshihiro Akiyama, submitted Anthony Rumble Johnson, and went 4 rounds with Jon Jones on short notice with a rib injury. Belfort can beat anyone on any given day.

        • Seth

          Problem is, when you introduce artificial testosterone to your body, your natural production of T is shut down – since body has another source of it. Since he had T problems (because of him abusing PEDs, on which he got caught), now his problems will be even bigger. Good luck. He’s gonna need it.

          • Groinstrike

            I think he will beat Weidman. Can he lose? Sure, Weidman is a dangerous person. But it will not be an easy fight like people claim. Belfort is extremely talented, has a ton of experience, and is a very athletic person without juice. With TRT he was superman, without it he’s lost an edge but is still dangerous

          • bud

            Look at before and after pics of vitor not to mention the fact that he became a completely different fighter when he was on trt kind of like the fighter he was when he started his career on steroids

          • deepgrim

            i would be extremely suprised if vitor can beat weidman, maybe he can ko him but i doubt it will happen, weidman has had the advantage of seeing vitors kicking game now, with out the trt i think vitor will be less explosive and to be honest weidman has more tools, his wrestling is better, his bjj is better and i think he can dominate the stand up too, but obviously vitor is still very dangerous on the feet

      • The Man

        since when does TRT teach you how to fight?? you must be smoking the same crack as Luke F—hold. the guy has been clean and passing all his tests. Maybe you should start watching some fights instead of just reading s— on the net.

        • Seth

          It doesn’t. But it helps you recover faster. It helps you with your cardio. So he was able to train more and train harder than his natural body would allow him too. And gaining unfair advantage is considered cheating. Give Luke same thing (and same amount, because Belfort was juiced up to the absolute limits) and lets see how Belfort does in a rematch.

        • mmalive

          The Man, Bro. This clown Seth is a WASHED UP LOSER man. I have been having verbal sparring with him for years. I RARELY post these days. Only to put guys like Seth in his place.

          Seth, Vitor will SMASH Cockhold with TRT or not. Luke boy is a SORE LOSER.

          • you’re a joke

            Pahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You can’t put anyone in there place, keyboard warrior!! Hahaha. You’re the loser. Go back to saying nothing dweeb.

          • guest

            Sorry. Their* hahahahaha

  • KJK

    After the Vitor fight I though he was just another “Other promotion champ” that was going to get eaten alive in the UFC….but I have to admit….after the beating he just put on Machida….the likes of which no one has ever done….I don’t know…..he looks like the real deal. Willing to bet a Vitor off the juice is way way different than the guy Luke fought that night…..we will see soon though…..does Weidman get a jacked ripped veins popping killer or does someone somehow more human looking show up….I’m figuring the latter.