Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold Has A Bull’s Eye On His Back

The next time fight fans see Strikeforce 185 kingpin Luke Rockhold, it will be in the UFC Octagon.  After amassing two title defenses in the midst of a nine fight winning streak, injury issues have placed Rockhold in a similar situation to Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez.  In other words, Rockhold will not be active for Strikeforce’s final event, so the next time fight fans will see the powerful Middleweight, it will be in the UFC.  Some of the UFC Middleweights already smell blood in the water, as there are a few who have already called for a fight with Rockhold.

In the highest profile possibility, we have Michael Bisping, who already has some bad blood brewing with the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.  Both are excellent gameplanners and precise strikers, which makes for an interesting matchup.  Bisping has been waiting for either a title shot or a contender’s bout, and this fight with Rockhold would serve as both, in its own way.  Bisping went so far to claim that he had sparred with Rockhold, and declared himself the “Unofficial Strikeforce Champion.”  Rockhold took to Twitter, but not the way he has with past opponents…

 

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We could see Bisping/Rockhold sooner rather than later.

Most recently, and possibly the most bizarre of all the call-outs, we have a veteran of the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter in Chris Camozzi, who has been riding a three fight winning streak.  Camozzi caught wind of Rockhold calling out Michael Bisping, and took exception.  The results are below.

 


 

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(Originally reported by Bloody Elbow)

While this is the lowest profile debut possible for a fighter like Rockhold, this is a safe way to introduce a champion from a partner company into the UFC Middleweight Division.  If Rockhold wins, he’s soundly defeated one of the UFC’s rising fighters, and showcases himself to the audience as someone worthy of higher competition.  This could be a way to make Rockhold vs Bisping into another lucrative contender’s bout.  Likewise, this could be the opportunity that Chris Camozzi has been waiting for, as he’s been rather outspoken regarding a step up in competition.  While this is an unlikely contest, its also a possibility with Twitter warfare like the aforementioned going on.  Dana and company have never been against settling bad blood, so this could very well come to fruition.

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There are also other fighters on the cusp of contendership that could prove an interesting matchup to Rockhold.  Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch both come to mind.  And there is also a fight with Cung Le that never happened in Strikeforce that could be interesting to watch.  Who do you want to see welcome the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold to the Octagon?  Sound off below!