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Cocky Luke Rockhold promises ‘short night’ for ‘beatable’ Israel Adesanya

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Luke Rockhold is coming off back-to-back knockout losses and has not seen the inside of the Octagon for nearly two years. But don’t expect that to rattle the confidence of the 36 year-old ex-champ, who already has his sights set on reigning 185-pound kingpin Israel Adesanya.

“I know what Israel is capable of, I’ve been studying Israel for a long time and I appreciate his style but I think he’s beatable in so many ways,” Rockhold told ESPN. “I don’t think many guys can fight him from the outside like I can. If I just stay relaxed and stay on the outside then yeah, it’s a game that I can play. And if we go into the takedowns I can do a lot better than Jan did. There’s nobody better than me on top. If I get on top of somebody, I don’t care who it is, it’s going to be a short night. For anybody.”

Adesanya (20-1) suffered the first defeat of his MMA career when he moved up to light heavyweight to battle 205-pound titleholder Jan Blachowicz. The 31 year-old “Last Stylebender” will return against top middleweight contender Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 in June.

As for Rockhold (16-5), he’s been dealing with recurring injuries (and chronic apathy) after dropping three of four but finally sounds like he’s ready to get back into action, assuming he doesn’t have any more run-ins with homeless zombie women.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 263 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 263: “Adesanya vs. Vettori 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.