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Friday, 05/24/2013, 10:40 am

EXCLUSIVE | Javier Mendez: Luke Rockhold is “Going to be a Great Champion” | BJPenn.com Radio

By JAKE CHASTAIN

| Wednesday night our boys over at BJPenn.com Radio invited AKA head coach Javier Mendez into the shop to discuss a variety of different topics including AKA’s continued success and the star-power that the gym breeds, Mendez’s role as head coach, and Luke Rockhold’s recent head-kick KO loss to Vitor Belfort at last week’s UFC on FX event.

Mendez, although he realizes that Rockhold lost the fight to Vitor fair and square, still feels that Luke is a natural born champion and will one day hold the UFC strap. Here is what Javier had to say about Rockhold’s UFC debut last week in Brazil

“My opinion is, uh, he didn’t appear to have the jitters, just like Daniel Cormier when he fought Frank Mir, he didn’t appear to have the jitters until after when he brought it up but if you’re watching Luke at the beginning he shoots from way too far out, he kicks and he falls on his butt, he definitely had a little bit of the jitters and then he started getting into his groove going in before the KO but what are you going to do when someone lands a beautiful kick like that? And nothing can be said. Luke was ready to do what he needed to do and it just didn’t go his way. But, you know, he’s a great talent, he’s actually, to me, he’s going to be a great champion. And I think great champion because I believe 100% in my heart that he is going to be the UFC Champion because this kid isn’t going to let this stop him.”

Even after such a brutal knock-out loss the situation has to be kept into perspective. Rockhold lost to one of the greatest fighters of all time in his home country. That alone is enough to gain Rockhold a free pass for another high-profile fight to reignite his winning ways and get himself back on title contending tracks. Rockhold is now 10-2 and is still a huge threat to any middleweight in the UFC. However, becoming a champion is an entirely different story. So, what do you all think? Is Rockhold still a title contender even after dropping the loss Belfort or is he what many would call a “new-found gate keeper”? Let’s hear some opinions, fight fans!

To listen to the entire interview with Javier Mendez on BJPenn.com Radio click here

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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