October 5, 2022

Luke Rockhold has critically dropped off lately after being tipped by many to get pleasure from a dominant reign over the middleweight division like Anderson Silva did throughout his prime years.

The 37-year-old loved a quick interval on the pinnacle of the game earlier than he shortly grew to become a laughing inventory after struggling a string of knockout defeats.

Getty Pictures – Getty

Luke Rockhold hopes to get his profession again on observe at UFC 278

Rockhold first made a reputation for himself in Strikeforce, the preliminary house of a few of MMA’s greatest stars equivalent to Ronda Rousey, Daniel Cormier, and Nick Diaz.

In 2011, the California native grew to become the corporate’s middleweight champion by beating Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza earlier than defending his belt twice in opposition to prime opposition in Keith Jardine and Tim Kennedy.

A UFC transfer adopted and regardless of struggling a shock KO defeat in opposition to Vitor Belfort, who was infamously jacked up on TRT on the time, Rockhold shortly grew to become a power within the middleweight division.

After stopping Costas Phillipou, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping, and Lyoto Machida in successive fights, Rockhold earned himself a shot on the 185lb title held by Chris Weidman.

Rockhold made his name under the Strikeforce banner


Rockhold made his identify below the Strikeforce banner

The 37-year-old won the UFC middleweight title in 2015


The 37-year-old gained the UFC middleweight title in 2015

The American Kickboxing Academy fighter made it look simple in opposition to Weidman who had no reply for his prime sport earlier than being stopped inside 4 rounds at UFC 194 in December 2015.

Rockhold gave the impression to be set for a protracted reign as champion, however that is the place his story took a flip. With the celebrity got here exterior influences that, in hindsight, seem to have had a detrimental affect on his combat profession.

The 6ft 3in American was signed to a modelling company and commenced subsidising his UFC revenue with work exterior of preventing and he in the end discovered success with it – bagging himself a contract with Ralph Lauren in 2018.

Throughout this time, Rockhold loved a quick romance with popstar Demi Lovato. They formally introduced their relationship after they attended UFC 205 at New York Metropolis’s Madison Sq. Backyard, earlier than amicably parting methods just a few months later.

Rockhold dated Demi Lovato at the height of his fame


Rockhold dated Demi Lovato on the peak of his fame

The former UFC champion also launched a successful model career that led to him working with Ralph Lauren

Luke Rockhold – Fb

The previous UFC champion additionally launched a profitable mannequin profession that led to him working with Ralph Lauren

It shortly grew to become clear that Rockhold’s new way of life didn’t mesh with being a UFC champion when he was famously knocked out by Michael Bisping, who isn’t often known as an influence puncher and took the combat on just a few days’ discover.

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‘The Depend’ verbally destroyed Rockhold on the mic within the build-up to UFC 199 and ridiculed him within the octagon post-fight, one thing which solely added to the humiliating upset loss.

Whereas most fighters who had simply misplaced their belt in opposition to somebody they had been anticipated to beat can be crying out for a rematch, the previous UFC middleweight champion was content material to proceed being profitable with out getting hit within the head.

“It’s about making the appropriate transfer subsequent, and making it price my whereas I’m not going to simply go on the market and put my physique on the road after I can receives a commission that rather more on this world [modelling],” Rockhold stated on The MMA Hour in September 2016.

Michael Bisping scored a massive upset at UFC 199

Getty Pictures – Getty

Michael Bisping scored a large upset at UFC 199

‘The Count’ continued his assault on Rockhold, verbally, after their second fight


‘The Depend’ continued his assault on Rockhold, verbally, after their second combat

A 15-month layoff adopted Rockhold’s defeat to Bisping, and he has by no means actually appeared the identical since regardless of managing to get again within the win column in opposition to David Department in his comeback combat.

The primary time he confronted any actual opposition, he crumbled and was as soon as once more knocked out chilly, this time by the muscle-bound Cuban wrestler Yoel Romero.

After spending his total profession at middleweight, the MMA star tried one thing new for his subsequent combat and moved as much as light-heavyweight to tackle Jan Blachowicz.

The person who went on to win the 205lb title after it was relinquished by Jon Jones, put Rockhold to sleep inside two rounds and left the previous middleweight king considering his future within the sport.

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The former champion fell to Yoel Romero while trying to work his way back to the UFC middleweight title


The previous champion fell to Yoel Romero whereas attempting to work his means again to the UFC middleweight title

Rockhold last fought in 2019 and was knocked out by Jan Blachowicz


Rockhold final fought in 2019 and was knocked out by Jan Blachowicz

Three years later and after a lot of time spent flirting with the thought of retirement, Rockhold is lastly set to return to preventing when he takes on prime middleweight contender Paulo Costa at UFC 278 this weekend.

It’s definitely a troublesome return opponent for Rockhold, who will shock many if he is ready to stand as much as the punching energy of ‘Borrachinha’ as he has among the finest KO data on the weight lately.

If victorious, the previous champion would have a stable case for one more title shot and set himself up for probably the most unlikely redemption story after years of poor type and humiliating defeats.