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Thursday, 10/31/2013, 02:09 pm

EXCLUSIVE | Luke Rockhold: ‘I got caught, but I feel I’m better than Belfort’

 

BJPenn.com spoke with UFC Middleweight Luke Rockhold last week about his loss to Vitor Belfort, a recent knee injury, and how soon we can expect him back in the cage.

BJPenn.com’s Shawn McClure asked Rockhold about his UFC debut saying “It seemed like you got into the UFC and they said ‘Hey, Luke Rockhold, lets give him Vitor, let’s do it in Brazil’ did that shock you at all?”

“It wasn’t my first thought of how my start of my UFC career would go down” said Rockhold, “but I was excited to fight Vitor.”

“I’d do it again.” Stated Rockhold “I still feel that I’m the better fighter. I got caught, but you know, I’d go back there in a heartbeat.”

Rockhold was asked what it was like to fight in Vitor Belfort’s country of Brazil and how that may have affected his performance.

“It is what it is,” said Rockhold. “(Fighting in Brazil) didn’t play a huge part. You got to have tunnel vision during fight time.” Rockhold went on to say, “shit happens, I got caught, time to move on I guarantee it won’t happen again.”

Rockhold was scheduled to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 166 but suffered from a torn MCL four weeks prior. Instead C.B. Dollaway replaced him. The injury has hindered Rockhold’s training for sometime now.

“You got to accept when you can’t do anything,” Said Rockhold, “you can’t throw punches, you can’t kick…the knee was a pretty bad one, I could barely move on it.”

Rockhold admits ejecting himself from the public eye. Something that is rare for the very open Rockhold. He stated that he “wanted to disappear and distract himself to get over the knee injury.”

Rockhold stated that he is just now able to work on his boxing and some light sparring, but should be back in the full swing of things within the next few weeks.

BJPenn.com caught the Middleweight fighter riding with fellow AKA team member Grey Maynard as they were “just cruising back to Santa Cruz”.

When inquired about how close-knit the team at AKA is Luke commented by saying “Its a good team atmosphere. Everyone’s trying to help each other out, that’s how it’s always been here at AKA.”

And though Rockhold won’t be able to fight in the event he still plans on attending UFC 166 to support his fellow AKA member.

“I’m going out tomorrow to support my team mates, my brothers, Cain and D.C. We’ve always helped each other. That’s what makes us such a great team. We’re always pushing each other to be the best.” He also stated that, “D.C. gets pissed when I miss his fights.”

Rockhold was asked his thoughts on fighting former UFC Middleweight champion Rich Franklin or Middleweight contender Michael Bisping. He seemed to like the idea of fighting “The Count”, but stated that thought it would be an “awesome fight”, he doesn’t see Rich Franklin in the picture much anymore.

BJPenn.com’s Shawn McClure asked Rockhold what he thought about possibly moving up in weight and fighting in the 205lbs division. Rockhold stated that though he may be comfortable at 205, “my walking around weight is 205”.

He went on to say, “I feel good (at 185 lbs.). I’ve sparred with a lot of 205 pounders. A little extra weight helps my wrestling and helps a lot of things, and I’m a lot faster than those guys, so I feel really good at that weight. You never know, I might move up, I might take a fight here someday.”

Luke Rockhold is a very decorated fighter and former Strikeforce Middleweight champion. He’s also a very young fighter and has plenty of time to prove himself in the sport. Many fans have been placing him on the back-burner because of his lost to Belfort, but according to BJPenn.com’s Shawn McClure one must be insane to discredit what he was able to accomplish in Strikeforce.

But with the Belfort knockout still looming over his head Rockhold has to break free from that image in the fans eyes and prove that he belongs in the sport.

“I want to get this Vitor fight off my back! I’m tired of hearing people talking about it; I want to get it behind me. I haven’t lost in a long time and its not sitting well right now.” Said Rockhold. “All I want is to get into the cage.”

According to Rockhold, the people can keep talking because he has big plans in the UFC.

“People love to (talk), but it’s not going to matter. I’m going to prove myself in the UFC and in my next fight and people will shut their mouths.”

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