Strikeforce planned to go out with a bang in what is expected to be the final event for San Jose, Calif.,-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion on Jan. 12, 2013. The injury bug, unfortunately, once again had plans of its own, striking down two of its champions scheduled to compete on the card: Lightweight title holder Gilbert Melendez and middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold was penciled in to defend his 185-pound strap against Lorenz Larkin, but a wrist injury -- the same problem that forced him out of his initial match up against Larkin on Nov. 3, 2012 -- is preventing the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA)-trained fighter to prepare properly, sending him to the sidelines once again.
The cancellation of the bout didn't sit too well with Larkin, who questioned the legitimacy of the injury on his Twitter account, which then led to a war of words between he and Rockhold (see it all here).
Rockhold appeared on "The MMA Hour" today (Nov. 26, 2012) to address the beef with Larkin, as well as assure everyone his injury is real and he isn't just looking to sit and wait for the day Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials bring the remaining Strikeforce roster into the fold.
Especially when "easy money" is ripe for the picking:
"I would never duck anybody in the whole world. Trust me, I'm not scared to fight anybody. The fact is, I can't train. I haven't been able to train for this fight and I'm not going to fight people one-handed. I'd fight Lorenz Larkin any day, trust me. In my mind, that's easy money. I want to fight. I'm not trying to push my way into UFC like this. I want money. I'm watching my bank account go down, and I want to build it back up, so as soon as I can, I want to start fighting."
Rockhold went on to say Larkin has no place to question his toughness, pointing out the Muhammed Lawal fight, in which the 185-pound champion claims he heard "The Monsoon" crying:
"It does piss me off. You're saying I'm mentally weak or something like that? When I have ever shown signs of mental weakness in any of my fights? He might be 13-0 but we all heard him crying in his fight against [King] Mo [Lawal] the fight before last. I heard moans and cries. There's no point in coming at me, telling me I'm mentally weak and I'm reluctant to fight you. The guy needs to know his place. I think I've proved myself over the years. I'm ready to throw down with anybody."
Rockhold went on to say he hopes the wrist injury, which has prevents him from maintaining a grip on anything or punch with full power, will be healed soon because he is aiming for a March 2013 return to action.
By then, he -- along with the top remaining Strikeforce fighters -- may be competing inside the Octagon. Rockhold, for one, says he wouldn't mind taking on the undefeated (13-0-1) Larkin in his UFC debut, saying he'd like to "smash him, shut his mouth."
Are any of you still interested in this fight? Or have the numerous cancelations taken some steam off it?