Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has always considered himself the best man in the division, and with a win over fellow contender Yoel Romero on Saturday at UFC 221, he will once again see himself as the true champ of the division.
Rockhold, who lost the belt in a knockout loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 198, rebounded with a crushing victory over former World Series of Fighting two-division champion David Branch last September.
Now, he’s set to take on perennial top contender Yoel Romero in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., Feb. 10, 2018) UFC 221 from Perth, Australia, for the interim belt after undisputed champion Robert Whittaker was forced out of the fight with a frightening staph infection.
Rockhold recently said at the UFC 221 pre-fight press conference via MMA Fighting that with an impressive win over Romero, he will once again be “the real champ” because Whittaker beat Romero by decision:
“Slight difference but this was bound to happen one way or the other. Whittaker would have been first, Yoel would’ve been second. Yoel’s first, so Whittaker will be second. I’m up for the task. I’m not lacking in any way. I’m prepared to fight the best guys in the world. It’s a shame it’s not gonna be for the undisputed title but Whittaker beat Yoel to be the interim champion. I’m gonna beat Yoel to be the interim champion. It’s a matter of who did it better is gonna be the real champion at the end of this thing. So that’s the way I see it.”
The middleweight division remains in flux after GSP’s abrupt abdication and departure and Whittaker’s injury, which leaves the weight class wide open for contenders but also causes a strange and disappointing logjam at the top.
Do you agree with Rockhold that if he defeats Romero handily in Perth, he will be the true champion of the middleweight division?