There is no love lost between former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and the man who took his title, Michael Bisping.
Rockhold has been out of action since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, but is eyeing a return to the octagon soon. The former champion was pulled from a rematch with “Jacare” Souza due to the injury, leaving him with time to ponder his next assault on the middleweight title he convincingly took from Chris Weidman at UFC 196 in 2015.
Rockhold eyes a score-settling bout with “Jacare”, who seemingly insulted him when he claimed that he was faking an injury to avoid the bout.
The man who lost his title to current champion Bisping spoke on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour to discuss the middleweight division, and those of prominence in the ranks of which he once reigned over:
“I haven’t seen much movement in the division, honestly. I think Bisping is a coward and he’s running and trying to get irrelevant fights and I think Jacare is right where he was before I left,” said Rockhold.
“Anderson came back, did his thing, I haven’t seen much else go down. I’m excited to get back. ‘Jacare’ says I’m running, he wants to stay relevant, he wants to stay in the fight game, not wait around. He’ll have to wait a while (for a title shot) given the current situation, so I’d love to go in there and fix that situation and finish my business with that man.”
A potential return to action in July would give him the opportunity to work towards a title fight, which is the prime target in his sights:
“If the time works for him, I think that July timeframe, International Fight Week (July), it plays nicely for me. I want ‘Jacare,’ I’m not looking to dance around. I’m going straight through the gut of the division back to my title.”
Rockhold seems genuinely unimpressed with Souza, claiming that he does not have much to offer the middleweight division:
“I didn’t see anything from ‘Jacare.’ I think he’s slow, I think he’s stiff and I think he forces the fight as to where I flow with the fight,” said Luke. “I haven’t seen him grow since I fought him. I know that I had a little fall back, but I will bounce back and show people that it wasn’t what you will see in the future, I will reset and put that man away”.
Rockhold’s return will further accentuate the power and calibre in a division already bursting at the seams with talent.