After more than one year of hiatus, Luke Rockhold made his comeback into the Octagon, scoring a rousing second round victory over David Branch in the UFC Fight Night 116 at the PPG Paints Arena, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 16, 2017.
Still smarting from a nasty first round KO loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 on June 2016, the former UFC Middleweight Champion Rockhold showed his old fiery form in cutting Branch down to size.
“People have short memories and they only remember that,” Rockhold stated to UFC Tonight on Wednesday. “I’ve been through wars, a lot of them.
I’ve taken my shots and I’ve withstood the test of time. Lucky stuff happens and the best man doesn’t always win. I’m coming back to regain my status.”
Rockhold’s sweet victory could somehow cushion the impact of his shocking setback to Bisping and will have a plenty of time to regain his A+ form.
Bisping is scheduled to face former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at the UFC 217 on November 4 in Madison Square Garden, New York.
“I want GSP to get lost on his way down to Madison Square Garden and I stroll right in and finish that story,” Rockhold stated. “Obviously that’d be an ideal situation for me.”
If ever the result will not favor Rockhold, he still has other alternatives to pounce on, though. He might settle for Australian Robert Whittaker, whom he described as “The man who fights the guys. We’ll see what his timetable or ended up facing Yoel Romero.”
Whittaker nailed the the interim middleweight title via a win over Romero in the fifth round at the UFC 213. However, Whittaker has been sidelined by a knee injury that was intensified in a match against Romero.
It appears like Rockhold is more fascinated with the Aussie warrior who is on an 8-fight winning streak. Aside from Romero, Whittaker posted impressive wins over Derek Brunson and Ronaldo Souza .
Rockhold mocked Bisping saying his title reign “Is the worst in UFC history.” He added, “No one has ever gotten that treatment. No one’s avoided every top contender. He was supposed to fight Jacare. He avoided that. He was supposed to fight Yoel. He avoided that.”
After extracting a win over Branch, Rockhold is mulling over moving to light heavyweight division, although he is aching to get a crack at Bisping to avenge his setback.
“I’m gonna put myself in position. He’s gonna have a choice. Either he stands and fights like a man, or he runs,” Rockhold stated. “We all know what he’s doing. He’s ran from the start and it looks like he’s gonna run to the finish.”