Free Agent Luke Rockhold Takes Aim: ‘I’d Beat That Guy In My Sleep’

Luke Rockhold

Getty Luke Rockhold

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is now a free agent, and he took aim at YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul.

Rockhold, who is also the former and final Strikeforce 185-pound champion, announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in August after a gutsy performance against Paulo Costa at UFC 278.  Rockhold lost the bout via unanimous decision, his third defeat in a row. Well, fast forward around five months and the American is ready to make a comeback.

While appearing on MMA Fighting’s “The MMA Hour” on Monday, Rockhold revealed to host Ariel Helwani that he was a free agent, and was eyeing either boxing or an MMA match.

“Your man’s a free agent,” Rockhold said. “Free and clear, and I’m ready and re-inspired to go out there and do something new.” He went on to say that he had “paid his dues” and UFC executive Hunter Campbell “granted him his wish.”

“I need a new setting,” Rockhold continued. “I need a new challenge. … You get burned out in the game when you’ve done so much, and you need new obstacles.”

Rockhold is ready to field offers from MMA promotions, including the Professional Fighters League and Bellator, and he also didn’t rule out returning to the UFC. Further, Rockhold shared an interest in lacing up boxing gloves to battle social media stars. “If you want bulls***, we can go box, beat up these YouTubers, too,” he said.

Rockhold Said He Would Beat Paul ‘In His Sleep’

Rockhold spoke with TMZ recently, and during the interview, he took aim at Paul. He challenged “The Problem Child” to meet him inside either a boxing ring or MMA cage.

“Stop trying to fight little dudes,” Rockhold said. “F****** [155] pounders. You’re a middleweight. If you want to fight a middleweight, I got hands. We can do anything we want. I really don’t care. I’d beat that guy in my sleep.”

If fight fans follow Rockhold on social media, they may not be surprised to hear he wants to venture into boxing. He’s shared several posts of himself working on his hands, with captions like, “Putting the old rig to the test. 2023 could get interesting,” and “We still here… It’s comeback season!”

“I got some freedom to do some things and as you can see, I like throwing hands these days,” Rockhold said.

“Fight people your own f****** weight,” he continued. “Straight up. And champions, a real champion, a real contender. A real someone who can put you on your a**, not old guys, 55-year-olds, or lightweights. You can’t even get above a welterweight, dog, So, step up.”

Paul recently signed a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League to make his MMA debut. Since then, several former UFC stars have called out The Problem Child, including ex-lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and fan-favorite brawler Mike Perry.

Rockhold Is One of the Most Accomplished Middleweights in History

Rockhold’s resume speaks for itself. Rockhold captured both the UFC and Strikeforce middleweight straps during a 16-6 professional run.

He holds wins over several former champions, including Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza and Michael Bisping.

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