Luke Rockhold is out of short-lived, self-imposed combat sports retirement and already gunning for some fights against the Paul brothers. And if he loses? He’ll go right back into retirement, this time for good.
Inside Fighting caught up with Rockhold outside Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif., where Bellator 290 went down over the weekend. Now that Rockhold has secured his release from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), he’s made it clear he wants to fight Jake Paul, although he’ll take Logan Paul, too, if offered.
“I like Jake [Paul], I like him. I think it makes a lot of sense,” UFC’s former Middleweight champion said. “Me and Logan, I might as well take him down before I take down Jake, you know? One at a time.
“Boxing, yeah — I would take him anywhere,” Rockhold continued. “He wants a wrestling match, I’ll take him in a wrestling match. But no, I want to box. I took my time away from UFC because my legs need a break. I’ve taken a lot of damage, couple of surgeries after my fight on my ankle and so it feels good to have that break and get that freedom. The UFC gave me that opportunity, so I wanna go box these kids. I’ll go do that thing. I appreciate that and that’s what I’m here to go box a bit, but I still have fight in me, too.
“We’re talking around, we’re talking to [Jake Paul’s business partner] Nakisa Bidarian, talking to some people,” Rockhold continued. “Talking to Stephen Espinoza [of Showtime Sports]. Got a lot of things moving. Shaking and moving and just shaking and moving.”
Rockhold was willing to bet the remainder of his combat sports career on a knockout win over Logan Paul.
“If I don’t knock him out, I’ll retire. I’ll retire for good,” he said. “I mean, that’s done. But I’m putting my hands together. If I don’t knock Logan Paul out cold, I’d be f—ing — I’m out. I’m out and I guarantee it. I’d be f—ing devastated, but that ain’t gonna happen.”
Rockhold may have to wait a while if the Paul brothers are his only goal.
Jake Paul is set to fight Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 26, 2023. After that, he’s supposed to make his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut for the Professional Fighters League (PFL) later in the year (details here). As for Logan Paul, he’s in the middle of a promotional blitz for his PRIME sports drink.
And as that business venture grows — and his WWE profile — we have our doubts he’ll be rushing back into the ring for another boxing bout.