A little career background on Rockhold:section about his fight with VitorIn the fight game, you’re only ever as good as your last performance. Fight fans by nature are fickle, and fight media are worse. Going into Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 35 main event, Luke Rockhold had it all to prove. He had tasted defeat for the first time in almost 6 years when his ever-growing hype train was abruptly derailed courtesy of a Vitor Belfort spinning heel kick, and Rockhold was left with two remaining options: go the way of many derailed prospects and continue to lose, or evolve. He chose the latter.
For Luke Rockhold, martial arts have been a way of life since he was a child. At the age of six, the California native Rockhold first stepped foot into a martial arts school. His martial art of choice was judo, and while it would be a love of grappling arts that would take Rockhold in the world of MMA, after winning a few judo tournaments, he realised the sport wasn’t for him. Luke’s next excursion into the world of grappling would come in 7th grade. Rockhold, already an avid skater and surfer, decided to try out for his school’s wrestling team, a decision that would ultimately bode well for the young Californian, as he became naturally adept in the sport, eventually competing at the California State Championships before realising once more that a sport wasn’t for him.
Rockhold, the relentless grappler, became disillusioned with wrestling in high school, as he felt that the lack of finishing maneuvers in the sport was frustrating. But luckily for Luke, jiu jitsu was on his horizon. For, Luke, the key point in his journey to the cage came when his sister and brother-in-law began taking jiu jitsu classes. He was, like many, enamoured by the gi game, and his love for the sport culminated with him winning the purple belt world championship in 2007.Bit about a potential match with WeidmanOnce you become a champion, people begin to take notice, and this was the case for Rockhold. Rockhold, an intelligent, charismatic Californian with a jawline reminiscent of Johnny Cage, became an immediate magnet for sponsors. His skills in the cage were backed up by his skills on the microphone, and his performances in the cage continued to eclipse those of his contemporaries until he ran into The Phenom at UFC on FX 8.
Vitor Belfort, like Rockhold, came to the UFC with a lot of hype behind him, fighting under the moniker of “Victor Gracie.” Belfort knocked out all comers with ease until he ran into the older and wiser Randy Couture, who managed to outsmart the youngster with guile. Mixed martial arts seems cyclical by nature, as when Rockhold met Belfort the roles reversed -- Rockhold was the young gun and Vitor was the wily veteran. On that night, Vitor coaxed Rockhold into trying to force the knockout against him, and capitalised on Rockhold’s eagerness by landing a concussive blow himself, rendering the prospect unconscious.Link to full articleIn Rockhold’s future I see a great rivalry, and it’s not the one many expect. After Weidman works his way through the trio of Brazilians -- which I expect him to -- I believe he and Rockhold will fight a vacillating battle for supremacy in the middleweight division.
2013 was a bad year in terms of pay-per-view buys, and don’t expect this trend to buck in a hurry with stars like Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva on their way out of the sport, but in the long run I believe the future stars of the UFC’s pay-per-view market will be Rockhold and Weidman. These two Americans are just what the UFC needed in terms of marketability; both are charismatic and accessible to everyday Americans. And seeing as it’s been 9 years since two Americans fought for the UFC middleweight title, it would be interesting to see what would happen.