Luke Rockhold was the two-time defending middleweight champion when Strikeforce was purchased by Zuffa and close. Rockhold will make his UFC debut next month against former lightheavyweight champion Vitor Belfort and believes that he's just that one win away from a UFC title shot:
“I’m focused on Vitor, but I don’t see how [a win] couldn’t warrant a title shot. I mean, Gilbert got an immediate title shot. I’ve defended my belt twice and taking out a top contender like Vitor, why wouldn’t I?”
“I think my advantages is everywhere really. Vitor will always have fast hands, he has good power, but I pose a lot of problems myself. I’m a longer fighter, I have better kicks than him. I believe my advantages are on the ground, in wrestling, in the distance in the stand up. I have plenty of ways to win this fight. And most of all, I got more heart than Vitor. I think I’m more of a man than Vitor.”
“I think it’s a crock of s*** personally. I don’t understand it,” Luke said of Vitor’s TRT exemption. “I think Nevada set the standard for most of the other states. And it’s like the NBA and Baseball, if they travel overseas, they’re not going to be permitted to use steroids just because they’re overseas. I think it’s just crap. But at the same time, if they’re not going to punish him, I will. And I believe it hurts you in more ways than it helps you.”
While some fighters might feel that travelling to scrap in his opponent’s backyard means that they’re about to tread waters in hostile territory, Rockhold not only thinks he’ll be welcomed in the Arena Jaraguá in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil, but said fighting Vitor in his native Brazil has him riled up even more for the impending battle.