Count Luke Rockhold among a growing pool of UFC middleweights extremely unhappy about the state of the division right now. And to Rockhold, the top names in the division need to do one thing: stand their ground. The former champion spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour yesterday about the quagmire the 185lb weight class has become.
Rockhold (15–3) hasn’t been seen in action for nearly a year now. Not since losing the middleweight title in a shocking upset by Michael Bisping at UFC 199 in June 2016. He’s dealt with injuries, to be sure, but Rockhold has been actively looking for a fight of late. They just haven’t been forthcoming. Certainly not the type of fights he’s looking for, which would give him a path back to the title. Prior to losing to Bisping, Rockhold had won five straight.
“There’s nothing I want more than to fight, but when you fight, there’s gotta be a goal” the former champ said. “I fight to be the best, I fight to win titles, and to get that championship dollar. There’s no path to that, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. So what’s the f***ing point?”
It’s also not lost on Rockhold that if Michael Bisping fights Georges St. Pierre in October or later, it could easily be two years before the champion has fought an actual number one contender.
So what sort of fights is Rockhold looking for? What has he been offered?
“I’m open to moving divisions if I have to” he said, then later continued “They offered me Mousasi and they haven’t even signed Mousasi yet. How do I sign a contract when the guy’s not even signed to the company yet? I like the fight, but I’m not going to go fight the best guys in the world without getting closer to a title.”
As for Rockhold moving divisions, he mentioned both heavyweight and light heavyweight were options. He’s actively campaigned for a fight against Fabricio Werdum, but claims the former heavyweight champ got cold feet.
Calling the state of MMA within the UFC a “spectator sport” where they’re just putting “freakshow fights” together, Rockhold painted a picture of a very unhappy division.
“I think everyone is already on strike, aren’t they?” he explained. “We’re all waiting on a title. Whittaker’s down. I’ve voiced my opinion, and I think Mousasi should stand his ground too. I mean, without us you have no f***ing division. Make something happen.”
He later summed it up quite nicely: I think everyone needs to step up and make something happen. The middleweights need to step up and hold their ground.”
Luke Rockhold is far from the only former champ unhappy with the promotion right now. So is this legend.