Michael Bisping salutes Luke Rockhold on retirement, UFC run: ‘People still don’t give him the credit he’s due’

Luke Rockhold
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Former UFC middleweight champion and past rival of fellow former division champion, Michael Bisping has wished recent UFC 278 co-headliner, Luke Rockhold well on his recent retirement from professional mixed martial arts, claiming those within the sport still elect against offering the Californian “credit he’s due”.

Bisping, a two-time opponent of Rockhold, managed to land an even 1-1 record against the Santa Cruz veteran, dropping a November 2014 mounted guillotine loss to the former, before avenging the submission defeat with a shocking first round knockout to win the undisputed middleweight championship in June 2016.

For Luke Rockhold, the loss to Bisping began a disappointing string of four losses in his last five Octagon appearances, culminating with a rather one-sided, yet competitive unanimous decision loss to past title challenger, Paulo Costa last weekend in Salt Lake City.

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Finally drawing the Brazilian in a rescheduled pairing, Rockhold gritted through numerous moments of woe at the Vivint Arena, even wobbling Costa on occasion as well as ending their three round bout in full mount – albeit dropping a unanimous decision loss.

Luke Rockhold calls time on his career boasting a 16-6 professional record

Following the defeat, former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold confirmed that he would hanging up his gloves from professional mixed martial arts with immediate effect.

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Informing the promotion of his decision to call time on his professional career at the turn of this week, Rockhold received plaudits on a gold-laden career, however, the aforenoted Bisping – whom congratulated the former on his run, questioned if the former actually received the credit he is due.

“I wish you the best in retirement, Luke (Rockhold), I really, really do mean that,” Michael Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “I know we had some back and forths over the years, but it was just competitive. Just rivals, sporting rivals. I’m sure if we met under different circumstances – in fact, I always said this – I’m sure we’d get along. We’ve got some mutual friends and Jason Parillo thinks the world of you as well. So congratulations in what you do.” 

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“So Luke, whatever you’re going to do in retirement, mate, enjoy,” Michael Bisping said. “You had a fantastic career. I think people still don’t give him the credit that he was due, but I do.” 

Despite beginning his Octagon tenure with a stunning wheel kick knockout loss to common-foe, Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold would go on to land victories over Costas Phillipou, Tim Boetsch, Bisping, Lyoto Machida, David Branch, and in December 2015, stopped Chris Weidman to clinch the undisputed middleweight championship.