Former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold has claimed that he accepted a bout agreement to meet with the surging undefeated, Khamzat Chimaev at a UFC Fight Night main event on August 28. — however, the latter rejected the pairing, citing his desire to compete at the welterweight limit.
Expected to make his Octagon return before the conclusion of this summer, Rockhold, a former undisputed UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion, last competed in July of 2019 against current light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz, where he suffered a broken jaw on route to a second round knockout defeat in his divisional bow.
Taking time off to undergo surgery on a torn labrum and rotator cuff, Rockhold revealed earlier this year that he was targeting a summer return to the Octagon after more than a year on the sidelines, and had sights on returning to his previous middleweight stomping ground — with sights set on matchups against the division’s elite.
Per a report from Ariel Helwani this afternoon, Rockhold informed him that he had agreed to meet with AllStars MMA trainee, in a main event bout on August 28. — as well a three round bout against the Chechen finisher at UFC 265 on August 7., however, Rockhold then claimed that Chimaev rejected the bout offer, citing his desire to compete at the welterweight limit in his respective Octagon comeback.
“Luke Rockhold tells me he was offered a main event vs. Khamzat Chimaev on Aug. 28,” Helwani reported. “He said he accepted but just got word Chimaev declined because he’s staying at 170 (lbs). He also accepted a 3-rounder vs. Chimaev on Aug. 7. “All respect but I thought he (Chimaev) would fight anyone,” he (Rockhold) said.“
“(Luke) Rockhold is hoping to fight by the end of the summer, he said. Wants a top-ranked 185er. To be clear: The Chimaev-Rockhold fight would have been at 185 (lbs), obviously.“
Prior to his knockout defeat to Blachowicz, Rockhold had suffered a knockout loss to Yoel Romero in his most recent middleweight outing. His last victory came in the form of a second round finish over former two-weight WSOF champion, David Branch.
Back at UFC 194, the California native scored the undisputed UFC middleweight championship with a fourth round ground strikes stoppage over Chris Weidman in the event’s co-headlining slot.
For Chimaev, the 9-0 contender was scheduled to meet with recent UFC 263 feature, the #3 ranked welterweight, Leon Edwards on three separate occasions between December of last year and March of this year, however, lingering health issues amid a positive COVID-19 test result prevented him from returning.
Despite briefly contemplating retirement from active competition, the 27-year-old is expected to return this summer akin to Rockhold, with sights set on a welterweight comeback. His most recent outing came in the form of a massive 17-second knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11 last September.