Strikeforce Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has been in the news as of late, with it all centered around his next fight as he makes his way into the UFC fray. Rockhold, who is mentioned among the short list of contenders to face Anderson Silva, has made it no secret that he wants that fight badly.
However he also knows that he has to be realistic, and that he may need to make a firm impression upon the UFC brass before entering the cage to fight Silva. Yesterday, Rockhold spoke to MMA Junkie radio and discussed another possible avenue that could garner him some momentum:
“There aren’t a lot of fights that make a lot of sense right now. Obviously (Chris) Weidman is injured, and he’s out until summer or fall. But Vitor (Belfort) looked pretty good the other night. He turned back the clock and looked like his old self. He’s a legend, and I’d be honored to fight the guy. I think that makes a lot of sense.“
That would most definitely be a fight that could get Rockhold’s name familiar with all of the UFC fans that knew little about the failed promotion that was Strikeforce. The UFC is welcoming Strikeforce champions Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier to the Octagon with big fights on April 20th from San Jose, so Rockhold is looking to fight big on that card as well. He addressed the possible situation:
“I’d love to fight on that card. I’m from the Bay Area, and there’s nothing I’d like more than to make my UFC debut in the Bay Area with all my fans. I’d bring all of Santa Cruz and a lot more. Trust me, we’d pack that place.”
“I’d like to come in there and make a splash, and just like everyone else, let’s represent the name. Personally, with this card and San Jose being the home of Strikeforce, this being a big FOX card, and we just shut down Strikeforce, let’s just do an all-UFC-vs.-Strikeforce card.”
Rockhold may have a good point here, as an addition of him facing Vitor Belfort would make the San Jose event an absolute blockbuster card on Fox, and doubly serve to get Strikeforce’s best talent some widespread exposure in a short period of time. Still, he knows that his ultimate goal, a bout with Anderson Silva, is most likely some time off:
“A warmup fight would be nice. I’m not going to lie. Anderson Silva, I’m not sure that would make the most sense right now. My name may not be as big as they want to sell a big pay-per-view like that. But if they want that fight, I’m down to take the fight. I’d take it, no questions asked.”
Rockhold is an effective fighter with some very unpredictable striking and a gas tank that’s built to last. It appears he’s also smart, admitting he may need some UFC experience before a date with The Spider. His addition to UFC on Fox 7 is a great idea, and Vitor Belfort would make one exciting choice for an opponent. What are your thoughts on Luke Rockhold’s next move?