Luke Rockhold is ready to settle his rivalry with Michael Bisping once and for all.
The former middleweight champion has been hinting at a move up to 205 pounds recently but the possibility of finally earning a trilogy with Bisping might be enough to keep him at the 185 pounds for at least one more fight.
Bisping has held it over Rockhold that he knocked him out in the first round in their last meeting after the British veteran took the fight on less than two weeks notice. That rematch came after Rockhold put on a similar performance in their first bout as he knocked down and then submitted Bisping in Australia.
Most recently, Bisping told MMAFighting that Rockhold should ‘stick to modeling’ after recently inking a deal to serve as the face of Ralph Lauren Polo Blue rather than call him out for a fight. That earned Bisping quite the response from Rockhold.
“I could beat Bisping’s ass if I modeled 365 days a year,” Rockhold said this week. “If I go in there focused and not act like an idiot when I’m fighting him, I can beat Bisping if I’m modeling 365 days a year.”
Rockhold is the first to admit the mistakes he made going into the rematch with Bisping as he discounted his opponent as nothing more than a road bump on a path towards his first title defense.
Instead, Rockhold suffered a humiliating defeat and he says matters were made even worse by the way that Bisping behaved afterwards.
“When people act the way that he acted following fights, considering the way I treated him, all of his actions and the words he said, it’s pretty annoying,” Rockhold said. “I’d love to shut his mouth. If you’re going to run your mouth that much, if you’re a man, back it up. We will soon see. He’s opened his mouth, he said a lot of things and now he’s been back tracking a bit. Put your money where your mouth is.
“You want to f–king run your mouth and say I was an easy fight, you say you can beat me up any time. Any f–king time. Step in the cage and prove it. Let’s finish it.”
Rockhold also fired back at Bisping’s jabs regarding his last fight where he suffered a knockout to current No. 1 ranked middleweight contender Yoel Romero. While the loss definitely stings, Rockhold isn’t sure why Bisping is mocking his knockout loss after he’s suffered back-to-back defeats including one that cost him the middleweight title this past November.
“Motherf–ker you got knocked out two times in a row by 170 pounders,” Rockhold said referencing Bisping’s losses to Georges St-Pierre and Kelvin Gastelum. “Don’t talk about my knockout to Yoel f–king Romero. He’s been knocked out more than me. If you want to get down to it.”
The bad blood is definitely beginning to simmer over and that’s why Rockhold is so anxious to find a date and location so he can finally settle the score with Bisping once and for all.
In his mind, there would be no better place to face Bisping than at International Fight Week 2018 at UFC 226, which will be headlined by Rockhold’s teammate Daniel Cormier as he takes on heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
Add to that, Bisping has stated that his next fight will be the last of his career and Rockhold can’t think of a better way to send him packing than on what might be the biggest card of 2018.
“This is your retirement fight, let’s go out on the biggest stage possible. That’s Las Vegas. That’s International Fight Week,” Rockhold said. “Back it up. Put your money where your mouth is. Put your balls on the table cause I’m ready to go.”