Luke Rockhold just can’t seem to quite move past his knockout lost to Michael Bisping three years ago.
The night was June 4, 2016. Michael Bisping had stepped in to challenge Luke Rockhold for the middleweight championship on short notice, and in doing so walked into the fight as a +525 underdog. Bisping shocked the world that night, knocking Luke Rockhold unconscious after a very contentious build-up. In the aftermath, Bisping did not let Rockhold hear the end of it, but it turned out to be Jan Blachowicz who ensured that this knockout from three years ago continues to haunt Rockhold to this day, for it was a key factor in Blachowicz’s KO of Rockhold at UFC 239 (Transcript via MMA Junkie):
“I saw the left hook when I prepared for this bout in my dreams, when I (did) my mentality training,” Blachowicz said in the UFC 239 post-fight press conference. “So I just believed in that. Then I can hit him. I watched how (Michael) Bisping did this in his fight 10,000 times, so I just knew it would come.”
And much like Michael Bisping before him, knocking out Luke Rockhold evoked a feeling of pure elation in Blachowicz:
“I’m happy; I feel just great,” Blachowicz said in the afterglow of KOing Rockhold. “I cannot believe what’s happened right now. But obviously I believe the biggest win is still somewhere in the future.”
As proud as Blachowicz is of his performance, he also believes the outcome was brought about by the reality that Luke Rockhold just was not prepared for what the light heavyweight division consists of:
“205 is different cardio, different conditioning, different timing,” Blachowicz said. “And I think he feels it’s much different. Sparring is different. Fighting is different.”
Do you agree with Jan Blachowicz? Was Luke Rockhold unsuited or unprepared to move up to light heavyweight? Or did he simply lose to the better man?