Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is hoping to land a big fight for his return to the Octagon, and it doesn’t necessarily involve rival Chris Weidman.
Rockhold, who announced his return to fighting earlier this month after stepping away from the sport late last year, is targeting a fight sometime in 2020. The veteran fighter is coming off a knockout loss to Jan Blachwoicz in his light heavyweight debut back at UFC 239 and hasn’t won a bout at middleweight since taking out David Branch back in 2017. Still, Rockhold believe he’s one of the baddest middleweights on the planet today.
With his return imminent fight fans are wondering who UFC will book to welcome Rockhold back to the 185-pound division. While most believe a rematch with Weidman should be the in the works Rockhold is hoping to reel in a bigger fish in the middleweight division.
“I like the [Darren] Till fight. Till would be a fun fight, it would be fun to do in the O2 arena… I don’t know how I feel fighting with no fans,” Rockhold said on Food Truck Diaries with Brendan Schaub. “It takes all that steam out, all the wind out of your sails. I like making history, I like going out there, the cream rises to the top when you put all the pressure on. It’s the pressure, it is the obstacle of fighting that is why I love it.”
Till, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker this past July at UFC Fight Island 3, is already scheduled to fight Jack Hermansson in December. That means Rockhold would have to wait until next year to get his return matchup with “Gorilla.”
If Till were to lose to Hermansson in December then Rockhold would be open to a bout with “Joker.” And if all else fails, the former UFC middleweight champion is always open to another clash with Weidman.
“I like Jack Hermansson, kid has done well for himself. Chris Weidman is always opening his mouth, I would love to shut his mouth,” Rockhold said “He is always talking post-fight as if he beat me or would beat me and never really shut up about it. There is nothing worse than a guy than once you beat them and they just keep running their mouth. I wouldn’t mind closing that door.”
Rockhold, 35, has produced a 1-3 record inside of the Octagon since the start of 2016. That includes three knockout losses, two title fight losses, and a failed move to light heavyweight. The former UFC middleweight champion should still be able to compete alongside the best at 185 pounds when he makes his official return, but Rockhold’s path to a title nowadays may be more difficult than last time.
What say you, Maniacs? Who should Rockhold fight in his return bout?