Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has discussed his relationship with Dana White.
The California native was last seen at UFC 278 in August, against Paulo Costa. The fight was an important one for Rockhold, as he hadn’t competed in over three years. Furthermore, prior to his matchup with the Brazilian, the former champion hadn’t competed at middleweight in over four years.
In his return in August, ‘The Eraser’ was able to score a decision win. However, the fight was an entertaining one, as Rockhold did everything he could to try and pull off the upset. In the final moments of the fight, the former champion smeared his blood on Costa, in an act of defiance.
Following the loss, Luke Rockhold announced his retirement. For a fighter who had been previously bashed by fans, the former champion was met with love from the MMA community. The scene of Rockhold retiring was later compared to a fairytale ending by UFC commentator Daniel Cormier.
Months on from the contest, the moment still means a lot to the former champion, as he explained in an interview with MMAJunkie. There, Rockhold explained that he lost time in his MMA career due to his beef with UFC president Dana White. That beef led the former titleholder to do some modeling work for Ralph Lauren.
However, the two seem on better terms, especially after UFC 278. Getting the love and appreciation from fans, and his promoter appears to be meaningful to Rockhold.
“It definitely felt good to get that respect I felt I always deserved, but I guess you’ve got to get dirty and nasty sometimes to show people who the f*ck you are,” Rockhold said. “People want to assume I’m this, people want to assume I’m that. I’m sure the Polo [modeling] deal didn’t help – people just hated me even more. But that was the thing with Dana in the first place. He disrespected me when I lost the title and said, ‘You ain’t shit. You weren’t this, you weren’t that.’ I’m like, ‘F*ck you, dude. I’ll go make my money elsewhere.’ (h/t MMAJunkie)
He continued, “He’s like, ‘F*ck, fine, go do it,’ and guess what? I became the face of Polo Ralph Lauren, I had a worldwide commercial, I had [my face in] every airport in the world, and then Dana and the UFC were like, ‘Oh, can we give you this? Can we give you that?’ I did it so I could have leverage and respect. That’s why I did that. That was the whole point of that situation, and I got some back. But then I got a lot of disrespect from it because the whole world is just naive and they paint the picture for what they want the world to believe.”
Currently, the 37-year-old is retired. However, recent comments made by Rockhold suggest he could fight again in the future. Given his repaired relationship with White, a return is on the table.
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