Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold removed his gloves following his UFC 278 decision loss to Paulo Costa and announced his retirement from fighting.
Rockhold, 37, reached the top of the 185-pound division winning the Strikeforce and UFC middleweight championships in his career. Prior to stepping in the cage against Costa, Rockhold hadn’t fought in three years. While Rockhold showed his toughness, it was clearly not the same fighter that he was when he held the title.
Another former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, was asked about Rockhold’s retirement and career during an appearance on Submission Radio.
“I think he’s had a very successful and amazing career. I think he’s a phenomenal fighter. But how he performed was exactly how he spoke about it afterwards. He looked sick of it. He looked sick of fighting. And you saw that when he took the first punch. He was just like, you know what, I don’t really want to do this anymore. And that’s fair, that’s fair,” Whittaker said.
Following Rockhold’s retirement announcement, fans and fighters weighed in, and Whittaker didn’t think all of it was fair.
“I think there’s too many couch critics out there that speak on fighting and who don’t really understand how much of a toll [it takes]. Especially when you’ve been at the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and you’ve rode the wave for as long as he has, and you’ve done it all. He’s been in the game for such a long time. He’s fighting in Strikeforce, champion in Strikeforce, had the belt, defended the belt. To do it all, it is hard, it is hard. Anyone could fight once. But when you’re fighting 10 years down the track on the later end of 30, against killers, like, it doesn’t get easier, the competition never gets easier. And I completely understand where he comes from, and I thought a lot of things he said were really truthful.
“You need to take away and dissect it a little bit, just cause obviously post-fight he was tired and just sick of this shit, so you need to pass through it a little bit. But yeah, I think he’s had an amazing career, he’s just had enough,” Whittaker said.
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