With firm plans in place for an Octagon return before the end of the summer, former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold remains highly confident of overthrowing the current division pacesetter, Israel Adesanya — claiming the City Kickboxing trainee is “beatable in so many ways“.
Rockhold, a former undisputed middleweight champion under both the UFC and Strikeforce banner, has made his intentions clear to return to professional mixed martial arts before the culmination of this summer, but according to him, contenders within the top-ten of the UFC’s middleweight division have rejected outings against him.
The Californian has been out of action since July of 2019 where he met with current light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz in his divisional bow — ultimately finding himself on the wrong end of a brutal second round knockout, in which he suffered a broken jaw.
In the time since, Rockhold has been nursing and recovering from surgical procedures on his rotator cuff and labrum, and has been pictured training alongside Jason Parillo at the RVCA training centre ahead of his proposed Octagon return later this year.
Dissecting the style of undisputed middleweight champion, the aforementioned, Adesanya recently, Rockhold claimed that the Nigerian-Kiwi is beatable, in more than just one way during a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s, Brett Okamoto. The Santa Cruz native fancies his chances if the two trade leather on the feet, and particularly if the potential fight ends up on the canvas.
“I know what Israel’s (Adesanya) capable of,” Rockhold said. “I’ve been studying Israel for a long time. I appreciate his style, but I think he’s beatable in so many ways. I don’t think many guys fight him from the outside like I can.“
“If I just stay relaxed and stay on the outside, it’s a game that I can play,” Rockhold explained. “And then if we go into the takedowns, I’ll do it a lot better than Jan (Blachowicz) did. I’ll tell you that.“
When mentioning the previously noted, Blachowicz, Rockhold is referring to the Pole’s successful defence of the light heavyweight title back in March of this year at UFC 259, where Blachowicz scored two successful takedowns against Adesanya in rounds four and five on route to a unanimous decision victory — which subsequently handed the 31-year-old his first professional loss in mixed martial arts.
While Rockhold has yet to book his Octagon return, Adesanya is booked to tackle Marvin Vettori in a middleweight title rematch on June 12th. in Glendale, Arizona in the headlining tilt of UFC 263.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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