UFC 302: Strickland v Costa
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Luke Rockhold is interested in one particular name for a potential UFC return.

Earlier this week, it was the whopping eighth anniversary of the all-time greatest event in MMA history, UFC 199. That’s my opinion, of course, but, man, how time flies and how insane that card was. Seven months before that fateful night of June 4, 2016, I officially started my journey in media, too. Aging sucks.

Enough about me, though. UFC 199 was loaded with unbelievably memorable fights, moments, and finishes from top to bottom. Unfortunately for Rockhold, he was on the receiving end of the one that superseded them all in the main event. The former UFC middleweight champion was upset and lost his title in his short-notice rematch against Michael Bisping. Since then, Rockhold has won once in MMA competition, losing three in a row to close out his UFC tenure (6-5, 16-6 overall) in 2022.

In the near-full decade post-UFC 199, the 185-pound strap has seen many different owners, including the latest to earn the “former” label, Sean Strickland. Mildly familiar and once booked to collide, Rockhold has nothing complimentary to say about “Tarzan.”

“I’m not a fan,” Rockhold told The Schmo. “He puts on the most boring fights of all time. He’s a fake, he’s a fraud. I think he’s f*cking acting up there. I’ve heard he’s got social media managers telling him what to do and telling him what to say. Let’s try to be a little more real, boy.”

Rockhold and Strickland were supposed to settle their differences in the octagon at UFC 268 in November 2021 — that year’s Madison Square Garden showcase. However, a herniated disc on Rockhold’s end axed the matchup and the fighters went their separate ways.

Instead, Rockhold eventually returned to suffer an entertaining unanimous decision loss to Paulo Costa at UFC 278 in August 2022. Meanwhile, Strickland won a split decision over Jack Hermansson the following February and has stayed active with six more fights before he most recently took on Costa at UFC 303 last Saturday.

Strickland scored another split decision win, albeit a controversial one thanks to the Costa scorecard from Dave Tirelli, and now Rockhold wants to make it clear he’d gladly accept a return to the UFC for a rebooking.

“Hey, what the fans want is what the fans get. If it makes sense, we’re gonna get it,” Rockhold said of a Strickland UFC fight. “I would fight that kid any way, in any form, in any place, with the right paycheck, of course. I don’t fight for free.”

“I trained with the kid when I was just on a bender in COVID. I felt what he feels like. I felt the feel, and he hasn’t really felt my feel. I feel that things could feel my way. Under the right feel-ing circumstances.”

Rockhold, 39, might still be many years removed from his last MMA victory, a second-round TKO of David Branch in 2017, but he did return to the win column this past month. In his Karate Combat debut on April 20, Rockhold knocked out former kickboxer and Bellator veteran, Joe Schilling, in round three. He’s teased his next move when discussing Strickland without indicating anything too specific.

Ultimately, the tough-guy alpha persona displayed by Strickland is what Rockhold can’t stand. Historically, middleweight has always been about walking the walk by backing up the talk, after all.

“Sean acts like he’s all, ‘I’ll f*cking go to the death,’ and he puts on this hillbilly f*cking right-wing f*cking bogan attitude when he’s really just a f*cking b*tch,” Rockhold said. “You ain’t gonna fight to the death. You go out there and you put on the line like the last five f*cking seconds of every fight and you sit there and you walk around like a f*cking stupid nut-cracker kicking and punching like an idiot.”


TOP STORIES

Build. Nate Diaz reacts to press conference brawl, nearly gets into another melee with Jorge Masvidal’s team

Comparison. Dana White: Conor McGregor at Muhammad Ali’s level when it comes to ‘mental warfare

$$$. Eddie Alvarez scoffs at Sean Strickland’s criticism of BKFC fighter pay: ‘I make more than Sean Strickland

Lightweight. Arman Tsarukyan unimpressed by ‘slow’ Islam Makhachev: ‘A very easy fight for me

Transition. Kade Ruotolo bringing different level of grappling to MMA: ‘I’m not sure if the MMA world is ready for it

Crazy. Bare knuckle, headbutts, and one 30-minute round: IVC plans return with vintage vale tudo rules


LET’S WATCH

Between the Links.

Free fight.

Cooking with Volk.

Almight’s UFC 304 camp.


MORNING MUSIC

Let’s get weird.

Go to Twitter, use the #MorningReport hashtag, or find one of my tweets with it, and drop me a jam you’re currently really into. I’ll pick the best one alongside my daily choice and give you a shoutout! You can also share in the comments below — those are just harder to sift through sometimes!


SOCIAL SCROLL DOWN

How fun.

Nomad.

No. 1.

Great name.

Plus the usual.

Hydration!

Still wrong, but it’s a start…

UFC + Ali.

Question.

Hangman.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Denis Goltsov (33-8) vs. Thiago Santos (22-12); PFL Uncasville, June 13


FINAL THOUGHTS

Sorry, gang. You are not allowed to cop out with the Friday poll today by getting a “neither” option! Maybe if it was Monday, but we’ll see what that has in store for us.

Anyway, as past it as we are now, I still wouldn’t hate to see it. Sean is going to have some time to kill before that title shot he wants if Khamzat Chimaev wins. Even if he loses to Robert Whittaker, it might be tough. There’s a line behind Israel Adesanya and at least possibly one of those guys. We’ll see.

Happy Friday, everyone. Enjoy the weekend. The summer is upon us. Unless you live in Antarctica. Please don’t fact-check that. Thanks for reading!


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Staff
Author: Staff

Please go to MMAFighting.com to read full article.

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