Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will not be retiring from mixed martial arts, despite widespread speculation to the contrary.
Rockhold has not fought since July, 2019, when he was knocked out by Jan Blachowicz in his first fight in the UFC light heavyweight division. Since that loss, he made no secret of the fact that his future in the sport was up in the air.
“My head is content where I’m at right now,” Rockhold told MMA Fighting in November, 2019. “I’ve done a lot of things in the sport. I’m not trying to be a headline maker. I’m not trying to say I’m going to retire and then want to come back. I don’t like to close doors on things in life.
“Right now, I’m just happy not fighting. It feels good to focus on other things,” he added. “Fighting takes a lot. I’ve done it, I’ve been to the top of the game. I just don’t have the same passion, the hunger for it at this point,” Rockhold said. “I’m excited to go in other realms of life. I know I have a lot of fans out there. I’m sorry I’m not fighting but you never know. Maybe someday I will but I don’t foresee it at this point.”
While Rockhold has recently been hesitant to commit to fighting again, he’s now made his plans official.
Speaking to ESPN on Sunday, the former champion announced that he will fight again.
“Because I felt like it,” he explained when he asked why he decided to delay his retirement.
At present, the details of Rockhold’s next fight are not clear. However, the Strikeforce veteran announced that he intends to fight before the year is out, and suggested that a rematch with fellow former champion Chris Weidman, who he defeated by TKO in 2015, makes sense.
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