The UFC’s middleweight division has been a mess that no one has been able to clean up, but Luke Rockhold think it may be its white knight. From Michael Bisping to Georges St-Pierre, then to Robert Whittaker, now an interim title created due to his laundry list of ailments, it’s hard to keep track of the gold belt. No matter what though, Rockhold maintains that if he takes out Romero this weekend in emphatic fashion, that he won’t be just an interim champ, but you can go ahead and call him the real deal.
“Slight difference but this was bound to happen one way or the other. [Robert] Whittaker would have been first, Yoel [Romero] would’ve been second. Yoel’s first, so Whittaker will be second. I’m up for the task. I’m not lacking in any way. I’m prepared to fight the best guys in the world. It’s a shame it’s not gonna be for the undisputed title but Whittaker beat Yoel to be the interim champion. I’m gonna beat Yoel to be the interim champion. It’s a matter of who did it better is gonna be the real champion at the end of this thing. So that’s the way I see it.”
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) January 18, 2018
“I don’t see this as merely anything. This is as real as it gets. Yoel is as dangerous as they come. This is in that same realm [as the Whittaker fight]. This is real, so I’m prepared to leave myself in there and take him to that place that he doesn’t want to be. This is as dangerous as it gets. Yoel calls himself ‘The Soldier of God,’ yet he talks about crippling and hospitalizing his opponents. That makes it all the more real. We’re not playing games. This is for keeps. This is the real f-cking deal. I’m ready to go.” — Luke Rockhold speaking at the UFC 221 press conference.
A former middleweight champion already, Luke Rockhold is doing everything he can on the path to recapturing that gold around his waist. No matter if he looks at himself as the real champion or not, he’s still got to fight Robert Whittaker if he gets passed Yoel Romero, and those are just two scary, scary fights for anyone. Saturday we’ll get to see how it all plays out, as Rockhold fights Romero for surprisingly the first time. We. Can’t. Wait.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/7/2018.