Former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold stepped inside the Octagon before and fought Vitor Belfort, falling to the Brazilian No. 1 contender last year.
Now, as Belfort prepares to clear several hurdles on his way to a December title fight with Chris Weidman, Rockhold is starting to understand how he given another chance. Belfort tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone earlier this year, and will be tested numerous times by the Nevada Athletic Commission before facing Weidman.
“The commission can do what they want,” said Rockhold, during a recent appearance on Submission Radio. “You know, financially, it’s a big sell. If the UFC’s gonna make that happen, then I don’t know. (It) seems like the rules are changing.
“I don’t get it. I don’t get how you get caught for steroids and get the title shot, getting a license and all that. Whatever, I don’t know.”
Along with feeling like Belfort “looks tiny,” Rockhold believes a different fighter will be stepping in the Octagon – granted he makes it there.
“There’s no doubt. He’s gonna be a lot different fighter, you know. Who knows what he’s gonna be like, but I just don’t think he’s gonna have much for Weidman. He looks old and he looks like he’s got a chicken neck now, so I don’t know,” he said. “He looks tiny! I don’t know how he’s gonna keep the weight on, ’cause he was on UFC on FOX, man the guy looked tiny. He literally looked like a small welterweight.”
Rockhold remains unscheduled, as he has stated numerous times that he wants to be available “when,” as Rockhold says, Belfort gets removed from the championship match. One fighter – Lyoto Machida – recently mentioned a potential 2014 meeting between the two.
“Lyoto’s an amazing fighter and I have a lot of respect for him too. You know that’s an interesting matchup and I suggested it to Joe and the guys and I’d definitely be open to that fight. You know, potentially that would be fine, but personally I think I’d rather fight the winner of Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza/Gegard Mousasi,” he said. “They’re a little more intriguing of a match up. They’re more of a solidify as a number one contender. Lyoto had a great fight with Weidman so I mean, going out there and putting a stamp on that fight, and you know, beating Lyoto and hopefully finishing him like Weidman couldn’t. That’d be a pretty big statement too. So you know, I’m definitely open to the fights. You know whatever the UFC wants to do.”
Rockhold has been sidelined since an early 2014 submission win over Tim Boetsch, recovering from a broken toe. He stated that the “toe is healed, I’m back on the program.
“I’m working out a couple of kinks, but I feel good,” Rockhold added. “I’ve been hard sparring for a few weeks now and I’m gonna get back at this next week and hopefully find something, get something going.”
As a member of American Kickboxing Academy, Rockhold will be helping Daniel Cormier prepare for a September title fight with Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title.
“Yeah you know, that’s why I’m hoping to get a fight ’cause I’m gonna have to pretty much put in a training camp myself helping him,” he said. “You know, I’m pretty the much the most like Jon Jones he’s gonna find. So we’re gonna be putting some hard rounds in together like we always do, and I’m not gonna take it easy on him that’s for sure.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly