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Luke Rockhold blasts ‘coward’ Michael Bisping, targets Jacare Souza in UFC return

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Luke Rockhold was pulled from his scheduled rematch against Ronaldo Souza — which was set to go down on Nov. 26, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 99 — with an ACL injury that forced him to ride the pine for last five months.

Still on the mend, Rockhold doesn’t have a set timetable for his return, but says he could see himself returning to action in July. And if he does, he wants to settle his business with "Jacare," who recently claimed that Luke was faking an injury to avoid fighting him.

Rockhold appeared on The MMA Hour to talk about his anticipated return and the state of the middleweight division in his absence. While he was at it, he joined Yoel Romero and the aforementioned Souza in bashing current division champion Michael Bisping.

"I haven’t seen much movement in the division, honestly. I think Bisping is a coward and he’s running and trying to get irrelevant fights and I think Jacare is right where he was before I left," said Luke.

"Anderson came back, did his thing, I haven’t seen much else go down. I’m excited to get back. ‘Jacare’ says I’m running, he wants to stay relevant, he wants to stay in the fight game, not wait around. He’ll have to wait a while (for a title shot) given the current situation, so I’d love to go in there and fix that situation and finish my business with that man."

If Luke has his way, he hopes to return this summer to face Souza in an attempt to earn a shortcut to his shot at reclaiming his title.

"If the time works for him, I think that July timeframe, International Fight Week (July), it plays nicely for me. I want ‘Jacare,’ I’m not looking to dance around. I’m going straight through the gut of the division back to my title."

As for Souza’s recent first-round submission victory at UFC 208 over Tim Boetsch (see it), Rockhold wasn’t too impressed.

"I didn’t see anything from ‘Jacare.’ I think he’s slow, I think he’s stiff and I think he forces the fight as to where I flow with the fight," said Luke. "I haven’t seen him grow since I fought him. I know that I had a little fall back, but I will bounce back and show people that it wasn’t what you will see in the future, I will reset and put that man away," he concluded.

So much tension in UFC's 185-pound division.

Souza has stated he won’t wait around to face the winner of Yoel Romero and Bisping — if and when it eventually happens — so a bout against Luke could be back on the table.

Early predictions?

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