The last time we saw Luke Rockhold was over a year ago at UFC 199 when he was knocked out by Michael Bisping resulting in losing the UFC middleweight title.
Judging from Rockhold’s comments in the post fight press conference, one could surmise that the two would either engage in an immediate rematch or that Rockhold would be itching to return to the cage to try and erase the loss, but neither occurred.
Instead, Bisping moved on to rematching Dan Henderson at UFC 204. Rockhold’s name over the past year was at one point linked to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza last November and even attempted to fill in for Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212 against Anderson Silva in June. Rockhold was most recently linked to Gegard Mousasi last month, but with Mousasi fielding offers from other promotions as he is now a free agent, the anticipated match up might not come to fruition.
During his time off Rockhold has taken modeling gigs and made several comments against the way UFC is handling the middleweight division and even got into a brief Twitter exchange with Dana White in May regarding Georges St Pierre receiving a title shot against Bisping. With the UFC not giving Rockhold an opponent of his liking or in his words: “I’m not coming back after all this time and fighting some chump on a worthless card,” it doesn’t appear we are any closer of seeing him return to action. Funny enough, Rockhold has continued to complain about the UFC holding the division up, but his inactivity has only hurt the potential of the division moving forward in terms of who is next in life after the winner between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker at UFC 213 this month.
Rockhold is currently ranked second in his division with his options besides Mousasi being, “Jacare,” Anderson Silva, or Derek Brunson. While these names don’t exactly jump out at you considering their current stocks, Rockhold would gain more notoriety if he adds Anderson Silva to his win record as opposed to rematching “Jacare” after he’s been finished in impressive fashion by Robert Whittaker in April. It’d be tough to outdo Whittaker and even if he does manage to pull it off, the credit might go towards Jacare’s “decline” rather than Rockhold’s skill level.
Should Rockhold be booked against Anderson Silva, you’d hear complaints about Rockhold being a bit of a hypocrite by opting for a bigger and lower ranked opponent rather than someone he was already booked against last year and someone who he went five close rounds with back in 2011.
It’s incredible how big of an impact Rockhold’s loss to Bisping has had on the division, but what is even more off putting is the fact that a former champion has yet to get back on the horse and perform to his best ability in a long period of time . Hopefully we are closer to seeing Rockhold back in the mix because he’s always been fun to watch.