A two-time opponent of fellow former undisputed UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, promotional Hall of Fame inductee, Michael Bisping has speculated that the former could land himself a UFC championship for the second time in his career – weighing up his stylistic matchup with titleholder, Israel Adesanya.
Rockhold, a former undisputed UFC and Strikeforce middleweight kingpin, is slated to feature at UFC 278 on August 20. in Salt Lake City, Utah – returning to the division in a high-stakes showdown against one-time title challenger, Paulo Costa.
The Santa Cruz native has been sidelined from the Octagon since a 2019 light heavyweight debut against former titleholder, Jan Blachowicz, where he suffered a fractured jaw en route to a second round knockout defeat against the Pole.
In the time since, Rockhold, who underwent a surgical procedure to address labrum and rotator cuff tears in his left shoulder, has been linked with a potential title resurgence and an outing against current champion, Adesanya.
And one person to back Rockhold to potentially beat Adesanya should he traverse Costa in August – comes in the form of former bitter rival, Bisping.
“If (Luke) Rockhold beats (Paulo Costa), don’t be surprised if he becomes champion of the world once again,” Michael Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “(Israel) Adesanya needs fresh meat. What does Rockhold have that could trouble Adesanya? Well, for one, he’s about the same height. He’s probably about the same reach. Athletically, he’s just as good. Granted, he’s a little bit older, so maybe not quite as fast.”
“Maybe the reflexes aren’t there. But we know about the ground game of Rockhold, we know about the top pressure, we know about how deadly he can be on the feet.”
Michael Bisping speculates a “reinvigorated” Luke Rockhold could prove to be a “nightmare” at middleweight
Bisping further claimed that a “reinvigorated” version of Rockhold could prove to be a difficult puzzle to solve for the rest of the 185lb pile.
“I’m just saying, with this new reinvigorated Luke Rockhold, this new version, this samurai that went away and learned from his past mistakes and now has come back centered, grounded, hungry, sober, personal problems behind him,” Michael Bisping said. “I think this Luke Rockhold could be a nightmare for a lot of people in the middleweight division.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)