Former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold has insisted he’ll have one thing on his mind when he returns to the Octagon, and that’s Israel Adesanya.
It’s been nearly three years since MMA fans last saw Rockhold in action. On that occasion, the Californian suffered his third knockout loss in the space of four fights. While the previous two had come at the hands of Michael Bisping and Yoel Romero at middleweight, Rockhold’s most recent setback saw him get a dose of light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz’s “legendary Polish power.”
But despite that form, a lengthy period away from the cage has brought the 37-year-old’s hunger back, and he’s set to throw down once again later this summer.
But while Rockhold is returning with the intention of regaining the middleweight strap, his sights won’t be on the illustrious piece of gold. Instead, it’ll be on the man with whom it’s currently in the possession of.
Rockhold: You Focus On The Champion
During an appearance on Submission Radio, Rockhold gave a firm response when asked whether he focused more on the title or the champion.
According to the 185-pound veteran, any fighter who focuses on the title is a “b*tch.” Expressing a ‘to be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ’ attitude, Rockhold insisted that the reigning titleholder is the only thing that should attract contenders’ gaze.
“I don’t see what people think, ‘Is it the belt, is it the belt.’ Anybody who looks at the belt and just wants the belt is a b*tch,” said Rockhold. “I look at the champion, and I want to take (out) the champion to be the champion. It’s not the belt. Interim belts are always bullish*t.
“You don’t look at the f*cking belt like, ‘The belt’s gonna make me the champion.’ Beating the champion makes you the f*cking champion,” added Rockhold. “So that’s what you focus on: the f*cking champion.”
With that in mind, Rockhold is eyeing up the man currently occupying the middleweight throne.
“I wanna fight Israel and test myself against the best,” said Rockhold.
To earn a date with “The Last Stylebender,” Rockhold must first go through #6-ranked contender Paulo Costa. After initially being booked to square off at UFC 277 in July, the pair will now share the Octagon at UFC 278 on August 20.
With Adesanya’s desire to face fresh challenges in his reign, should Rockhold make a successful comeback against “Borrachinha,” and should the champ brush aside the threat of Jared Cannonier next month, it stands to reason that the former king could have the opportunity to stage a coup, and one that would be quite the story.
Do you agree with Luke Rockhold’s comments?
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