Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold became a UFC fighter in January of last year, when the Zuffa owned brand was closed out by the senior promotion. Taking his first fight in ‘The Big Show’ the following May, Rockhold found himself pitted against one of the 185 pound division’s most dangerous fighters, Vitor Belfort.
On the night of their Brazilian encounter “The Phenom” would need less three minutes of the first round to lay Rockhold out cold. With a spinning heel kick to the head and a few additional punches while laid out on the ground, Belfort handed the American fighter a debut KO loss in the brand.
Nearly twelve months later and Rockhold has rebounded with a significant win over Costas Philippou – a round one KO this past January – and now stands a week out from a UFC 172 fight with the number thirteen ranked Tim Boetsch. However, and regardless of his upcoming April 26th bout with “The Barbarian” in Baltimore, it appears that Rockhold still has Belfort very much on his mind.
In speaking with FOX Sports, Rockhold is letting it be known that he wants another shot at Belfort, and that he will seek the fight “sooner than later.” More to the point, the fighter believes that Belfort was lucky with his kick. Further, Rockhold is of the opinion that there has been some “fishy things going on” in the Brazilian’s life – referring to Belfort’s use of TRT and steroids – and that as a result of that, “Karma” might now be paying him back for his past misdeeds.
As Rockhold put it:
"I don't give a s**t. I'll go back down to Brazil and fight Vitor on steroids. He's not going to land that kick again. I will overcome Vitor Belfort. No matter what, steroids or not; doesn't matter to me. Lightning will not strike twice."
"They’re some fishy things going on. The highs and lows of Vitor Belfort, I would not want to be that guy. Be on top of the world getting all these 'knockouts of the night' and all these awards of the year and then all of a sudden get shunned into the shadows. He leads a shady life and it seems like karma might be coming back…I hope he comes back soon, because I definitely would be seeking that fight sooner than later."
Whether or not Rockhold is right or wrong on Belfort only time can tell. “The Phenom’s” first fight back off of TRT is going to be an important test for the fighter. And if he fails the test and never earns his title shot, then perhaps Karma will have bitten Belfort in the backside.
As to Belfort being lucky with his KO head kick of Rockhold, that’s a point that only Rockhold himself can demonstrate in the ring. However, before he gets that chance the “American Kickboxing Academy” team member has to get past Tim Boetsch this weekend. As “The Barbarian” could be fighting for his job and division ranking at the Baltimore event on Saturday night, the fighter will not be short on motivation in his match with Rockhold. Concordantly, the “AKA” fighter would probably be well advised to focus on the match ahead of him and not the one he desires.