The UFC’s middleweight division has been in a weird, chaotic state ever since Luke Rockhold was knocked out by the hands of Michael Bisping. Some fighters like Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza went on strike, Yoel Romero vowed to not go back his home in Cuba until he got a title shot, and Gegard Mousasi left the UFC altogether. Luke Rockhold has expressed his frustrations in the past about how things were going, which is why he wants to keep the wheels of the division going. No matter who wins at UFC 217 between Bisping and Georges St-Pierre, the champ is supposed to fight Robert Whittaker. If that doesn’t happen, then Rockhold will.
“Robert Whittaker has proved himself top dog and I believe he and I are the two best guys in the middleweight division. So, [the winner of Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre] should definitely fight him. But if not, I will. I’ll fight any man at the top and Whittaker is seemingly that guy. I was impressed. First time up in the division, it was a strong, composed showing. I’ve been watching him come along since and he’s growing nicely. Whittaker’s a really tough kid.”
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) September 8, 2017
“Well, obviously Bisping needs to f-cking step up and fight somebody. He’s been a coward lately. Avoiding every top fighter. He should’ve fought Yoel Romero, but didn’t. Then the UFC tried to get him to fight Jacare [Souza] and he ran from that, too. Said he was injured. So, then he’s tried to get the GSP fight but they gave him Yoel Romero again, and suddenly once more he’s injured. It’s why, even though I’d love my own rematch with Bisping, you have to have a willing dance partner. And we all know he isn’t a willing dance partner when it comes to fighting any of us at the top of the division.” — Luke Rockhold speaking to The Daily Telegraph.
The hard-hitting Aussie has racked up an impressive eight-fight win streak in the UFC, eventually winning the interim UFC middleweight title against Yoel Romero. Luke Rockhold surely wants to win the chess game of getting back his former title the best way he can, but he cant let his eyes wander too much though. Rockhold still has to get past former two-division World Series of Fighting champion, David Branch. UFC Pittsburgh goes down tonight, headlined by Rockhold and Branch’s fight.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/16/2017.