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No mouthguard needed! Luke Rockhold collides with Craig Jones in Israeli jiu-jitsu ‘super’ fight

UFC’s former Middleweight champion is headed to Jerusalem, Israel, to take on Brazilian jiu-jitsu star, Craig Jones, in a September clash.

Luke Rockhold is continuing his exodus from mixed martial arts (MMA) with a special Brazilian jiu-jitsu cage match against Craig Jones in Israel this fall. That’s according to Jones, who announced the fight through his Instagram earlier today.

“Never in the history of combat sports have 2 dime pieces of this caliber locked horns,” Jones wrote. “I’ve often been told I need Jesus in my life, what an opportunity to hit Jerusalem in search of him.”

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu bout will take place inside a cage at Israel Fight Night 1 inside Pais Arena on Sept. 21, 2023. Jones is one of the biggest names in jiu-jitsu competition, while Rockhold is a former Strikeforce and UFC Middleweight champion.

Rockhold asked for his release from UFC following a tough loss to Paulo Costa last summer. Since then, his only contest has been a bareknuckle boxing fight against Mike Perry that saw him get his teeth smashed in, literally (watch highlights).

Now, Rockhold will head back to the gentle art, an area he’s competed regularly in over the years. Most recently, he took on Jones’ teammate, Nick Rodriguez, at Polaris 12 in 2019 (Rockhold dropped that one via decision).

It’s all part of Rockhold’s plan to walk the Earth and compete in as many various martial arts as he can. In addition to jiu-jitsu competitions, he’s recently said he might try Karate Combat, too.

“I can fight wherever I want and whatever appeals to me the most is where I’m gonna go,” he said. “The opponent, the stage, the situation, and of course, the payday. But this (Karate Combat) is looking good.”

While free agency is looking a little rough in the win-loss column for UFC fighters, at least they’re getting paid. We’re sure the purse is sweet for Rockhold to take a vacation in Israel and take on a beast like Jones.

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