Thursday, December 8, 2022

Luke Rockhold Responds To Getting White’s “Deserved” Respect

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold still has a grudge against UFC President Dana White but appreciated his kind words after UFC 278.

Rockhold lost a unanimous decision to Paulo Costa at UFC 278 back in August. He returned following a three-year layoff and put on a show along with Costa in the UFC 278 co-main event.

In the leadup to his return at UFC 278, Rockhold blasted White and the UFC for how fighters are compensated and treated. He specifically called out White as a “tyrant” and accused White of not treating his fighters fairly and with respect.

Rockhold and White have had a complicated relationship over the years since Rockhold lost the middleweight title to Michael Bisping at UFC 199. This came after Georges St-Pierre was booked for a fight against Bisping when Rockhold called for a trilogy with the then-middleweight champion.

Despite their hostilities, White praised Rockhold in his UFC 278 post-fight press conference.

“I think that coming into a situation like both of theirs, there’s a lot of pressure, lot of stress,” White said of Rockhold. “Who’s more freedom of speech than me? He’s entitled to his own opinions. Whatever it is that went on this week. Let me tell you what, I’ll never say anything about him. I totally respect him. After that war tonight, normal humans like us that are sitting in this room, have no idea what those two went through tonight in that Octagon, and we never will thank fucking god…nothing but respect.”

White handed Rockhold and Costa $50k post-fight performance bonuses for their three-round battle.

Luke Rockhold Reacts To Dana White’s Post-UFC 278 Praise

During a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Rockhold replied to White’s comments shortly after UFC 278.

“It felt good,” Rockhold said. “It definitely felt good to get that respect. I felt like I was deserved of it, but I guess you gotta get dirty and nasty to show people who the fuck you are.”

Rockhold announced his MMA retirement following the loss to Costa but hasn’t ruled out an eventual return. He has also hinted at potentially making the move to boxing and exploring other ventures in combat sports.

Rockhold, once thought of as one of the top fighters in UFC at the time of his middleweight title reign, has had a strained relationship with White. Despite their checkered past, things seem relatively peaceful between the two sides.

Will Luke Rockhold eventually return to the UFC?