Rockhold announced his retirement inside the Octagon after waging war with Paulo Costa for three rounds at UFC 278 on August 20. Although the former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion lost via unanimous decision, Rockhold impressed fans with his resilience, something that was in question before he stepped onto the canvas.
Prior to fighting Costa, Rockhold had lost three of his last four bouts, all by knockout. Well, Rockhold took all of the power shots “Borrachinha” offered and delivered his own as well. The fight ended with Rockhold on top of Costa rubbing his bloodied face on the Brazilian’s, which produced a viral moment that further solidifed Rockhold’s redemption.
Less than two months after telling the world he was walking away from the sport, Rockhold, 37, revealed to Submission Radio that he’s considering the idea of a comeback, especially if Alex Pereira dethrones Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 in November.
“If I get inspired, if someone inspires me to get back in it…you never know,” Rockhold said (h/t Bloody Elbow). “[Maybe] That Brazilian dude winning the title. Alex Pereira.”
“I mean, there’s tons of opportunity. I’m not looking to get out of shape in any way, shape, or form. I really still enjoy the training aspect. I just don’t want to do the part that really hurts me. I’ll do some boxing sparring, but like, you get into full MMA sparring and everything starts to break down when you’re fighting the bad dudes. I’m just gonna work on getting better.”
Cormier Says to Rockhold: ‘Luke, Don’t Come Back’
So, in a recent YouTube video on “DC’s” channel, Cormier gave his take on Rockhold’s comments. And in short, he doesn’t want his longtime American Kickboxing Academy teammate to jump back into fighting. Instead, he’d like to see Rockhold compete with his high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“Luke, don’t come back,” Cormier said (h/t MMA Fighting). “It’s only been a few weeks and it was absolutely perfect. It couldn’t be better. Because Luke Rockhold has been the guy that has not been loved, but in that performance, he gained the praise of the masses. Not only did he gain the praise of the masses though, he gained the praise of his opponent in the competition. Paulo Costa came up to me a week later and told me how special it was to share the Octagon with Luke.
“Luke, don’t come back. It’s fine. Go do jiu-jitsu if you want to. Go to ADCC.”
Cormier Explained the Difficulties of Retiring From Mixed Martial Arts
Cormier is a man who knows what it’s like to hang up his gloves for good. And because of that, he empathizes with what Rockhold may be going through in terms of leaving a sport he dedicated years of his life to.
“The reality is this,” Cormier said. “Part of the thing about retiring is you miss the rush of being in front of all of those people and it shows itself when you’re by yourself. When he’s by himself and he’s with his dogs and those thoughts start to creep in, ‘I can still do this.’ Especially on those days when you feel good, you forget about how bad you feel in there. You gotta fight the urge. We all get it.
“No, man. We can’t. I can’t. Maybe Luke can with some time away, but I would advise for him to stay away. Don’t go back, especially not now. We’re still kind of riding the wave of what was in Utah.”