An ex-UFC champ revealed to Heavy he sees “openings” that could help him beat UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Former 185-pound champ Luke Rockhold is on the comeback trail right now and hopes to be back inside the UFC’s Octagon in early 2021.
“If I didn’t see openings, I wouldn’t be here,” Rockhold told Heavy. “I think there are always openings to beat somebody, to get after somebody. I think he gets a little bit flustered when he gets crowded. That might be the avenue.”
Rockhold also suggested getting the striking savant down to the mat could play an important role in the effort to dethrone him.
“I think there’s room there,” Rockhold said.
Rockhold Is Still Recovering From Injuries
The former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champ plans on getting back to work inside the UFC’s stacked 185-pound division just as soon as his body heals from some nagging injuries.
Rockhold hasn’t fought in the UFC since July 2019, but he’s recently undergone some important surgeries to repair his shoulder and toe.
The American said he’s not rushing his recovery from those surgeries because it’s important for him to allow his body to completely heal.
But Rockhold’s comeback plan remains the same as it was when he first revealed earlier this year that he was climbing back inside the cage again soon.
“I don’t want to give that up just yet,” Rockhold said. “I still feel like I have the athletic ability that’s I’ve always had when I’m healthy, when I’m not out there…going into fights compromised.”
Rockhold’s Movie Role
Rockhold made his first foray into Hollywood acting this year in the film “Cagefighter” alongside pro-wrestling champ Jon Moxley, former UFC champ Chuck Liddell and pro-MMA fighter Alex Montagnani.
“Cagefighter” was released by Screen Media on October 9 in theaters and on-demand.
You can watch the trailer for the film below.
“It was a cool experience, man,” Rockhold said. “I got to work with my buddy, Chuck Liddell, that’s been there for me for my whole career. It was a great cast and crew.”
In addition to his role as an actor, Rockhold said he and Liddell helped filmmakers make the movie “as realistic as possible”.
Still, Rockhold said he wasn’t quite ready to leave the fight world for Hollywood.
“I’m not a poser,” Rockhold said. “I’m not huge on faking my way through life.”
Rockhold isn’t closing the door on acting completely, but he’s not going to chase it either.
“It would have to be the right role,” Rockhold said.
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Rockhold vs. Adesanya?
Rockhold admitted that he isn’t so sure his body can still make the 185-pound middleweight limit, but that his return there remains the plan right now as he readies himself for his UFC comeback.
That means his ultimate goal would be to dethrone Adesanya and reclaim his middleweight crown.
Still, despite seeing a path to victory for himself over Adesanya, Rockhold praised the UFC’s current middleweight champion for his recent performances.
“I was very impressed with Israel,” Rockhold said. “He’s a stud, man. He’s out there doing his thing. He’s pretty fearless coming forward. He’s a very talented striker who gets into very awkward positions, and he kind of defies the rules of striking a bit.”
Still, Rockhold believes Adesanya hasn’t fought anyone yet who might attack him in a way that could be successful.
“He hasn’t really fought anybody yet that can really fight with him on the outside,” Adesanya said. “Everybody is running after him, so he can just sit back and attack them.”
So Rockhold likes his chances someday if that fight comes around.
“I know what the top feels like [in that division], and I know it’s very beatable,” Rockhold said.
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