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UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold defends American Kickboxing Academy's training habits

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As it stands right now, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) sports the most decorated team in mixed martial arts (MMA).

Gyms like Kings MMA out of California, which has current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titleholders Fabricio Werdum and Rafael dos Anjos gracing its roster, and Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA out of New Mexico, which has UFC standouts like Jon Jones, Holly Holm, Donald Cerrone, Alistair Overeem, and Carlos Condit, come in a close second, but AKA is the home of current UFC champions Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier, as well as former Heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez and undefeated Lightweight title contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Unfortunately, despite the level of athletic skill and hard work that pours through AKA's doors, the gym has become synonymous with sprouting untimely injuries. It happened to Cormier leading into his bout with Jones at UFC 197, it happened to Velasquez leading into his bout with Werdum at UFC 196, and it has happened to Nurmagomedov for the majority of his career.

Despite the glaring evidence that something may be afoot at one of the more grueling gyms in the world, Rockhold doesn't believe the recent string of injuries means much at all.

"Injuries happen, we have a high level of competition at the gym," said Rockhold in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. "But we're family and people aren't trying to hurt each other. From time to time, things happen. I don't believe we have a big problem with injuries. I know myself, I know DC, I know a lot of these guys and a couple injuries plague you, but the rest of us have been pretty healthy."

Rockhold eluded to the fact that Cormier rarely misses fights, with his only absence of his career coming at UFC 197. However, the same cannot be said about Velasquez or Nurmagomedov.

"Cain gets some injuries, but people are fighting," added Rockhold. "We just come from the top camp in the world with a lot of top names and there's a lot of focus. Any time anyone gets hurt, people want to point the finger. But the thing is, we have the best camp in the world and there's a reason why that's happening."

Rockhold is scheduled to fight Chris Weidman in a Middleweight title rematch at UFC 199, while Cormier will finally meet Jones in a reboot as the main event at UFC 200 in July.

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