Luke Rockhold, a former Strikeforce and UFC champion, is planning a return to the octagon later this year. The former middleweight champion hopes to fight current 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya in the future.
In a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Rockhold outlined a detailed strategy for defeating ‘The Last Stylebender’ in a potential battle. According to Rockhold, he is ready to piece together the champion from the outside to win.
“I know what Israel is capable of. I have been studying Israel for a long time. I appreciate his style. But I think he is beatable in so many ways. Fighting him from the outside.
“I don’t think any of the guys can fight him like I can. If I just stay relaxed and stay on the outside, it’s a game that I can play. And then, if we go into the takedowns, I’ll do a lot better than Jan did, I’ll tell you that,” Rockhold said.
At UFC 259, Israel Adesanya suffered his first professional MMA loss to Jan Blachowicz. By employing his wrestling-oriented tactics, the Polish powerhouse cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
Following in the footsteps of Blachowicz, Rockhold is eager to demonstrate his grappling prowess against Israel Adesanya.
“There is nobody better than me on top. If I get on top of somebody, I don’t care who it is, it’s going to be a short night for anybody… the division is ripe for the taking and Israel is what motivates me right now and everybody else is in the way,” Rockhold added.
Luke Rockhold’s most recent opponent
Rockhold has been out of the ring since July 2019. The California native was last seen inside the cage at UFC 239, where he faced Jan Blachowicz. Rockhold was stopped in his tracks by a second-round knockout by the Polish champion. The setback dashed Rockhold’s hopes of becoming the light heavyweight champion.
Even though Rockhold is nearing the end of his MMA career, the former champion believes he has yet to reach his full potential as a fighter.
In response to the critics, Rockhold said, “I’m working everyday. I’m coming back because I know what I’m capable of. I’ve just got to focus and be the guy that I know that I am. Relax and let it be.”