A couple months ago, it seemed the UFC was putting together a nice little middleweight title contender runoff. Chris Weidman would fight Yoel Romero at UFC 205, and Luke Rockhold would fight Jacare Souza in Melbourne, Australia. The most impressive winner of those two bouts would get the next shot at Michael Bisping.
Then Luke Rockhold got injured. The former middleweight champion has apparently suffered an injury to his left ACL, one that he’s hoping to heal up without having to go in for surgery. And it sounds like, if all goes as planned, he’ll be back in the cage by March of next year.
Rockhold spoke to Sub Radio about the injury and about the fight he hopes to have waiting for him.
“I’ve had quite a few assessments of the knee from different doctors, and just a small bundle is pulled off the ACL detachment point,” Rockhold said, speaking of the left knee injury that caused him to miss UFC Melbourne. “So I’m trying to go through the natural process of healing, which they say has a high potential of it reconnecting itself. And so I’ve done two series of PRP shots. I’ll probably do a third and I might do some stem cells again. I’m trying to do everything I can to avoid surgery, because that’s the key for me. With the ACL, anytime you go with the ACL, orthoscopic or reconstruction, it’s a good 12 months to a year out, pretty much from everything. So I’m told potentially in a couple of months it could reattach itself and then I can start kicking again. It’s weird cause it feels good in so many ways, but the moment I kick, it feels like my knee’s gonna fall apart if I’m kicking at full power. So I’m just trying to lay off that, not trying to aggravate it and heal up.”
“I mean, given the timetable of what’s going on with my potential recovery and Bisping and Yoel Romero fighting probably not till, you know, February, March, I think that’s a good timeframe,” Rockhold continued, when asked about getting the Jacare fight re-booked. “If I can get in that frame in March, that would be perfect for me. Jacare is the most clear-cut way back to the title. I’m not looking to fight another guy and then have a question mark who gets the next shot. I’m gonna go straight down the throat. I wanna get Jacare, finish my business and make no ifs and or buts who’s the next in like to get that shot, whether it’s Bisping or Yoel.”
Rockhold also revealed that he did try and stay in the Jacare fight, but every time he threw a kick that didn’t land flush, it felt like his “knee was gonna fall apart.” Left kicks are an integral part of Rockhold’s game, and as he himself noted, “I needed my left kick last time around with Jacare and I know I need it this time.”
When asked about Bisping’s chances of retaining the belt against Yoel Romero, Rockhold didn’t give him much of a shot.
“I think it’s a rare, rare opportunity for Bisping to pull it off – about as rare as when he beat me,” Rockhold said. “I think Yoel pretty much goes in there and it might take a little while, but he’ll get to Bipsing sure enough. I believe Bisping is a tough individual. He’s going to go in there and he’s the more technical striker and Yoel’s pretty raw, but I think with the takedown opportunities, that he’ll start to throw Bisping around it would start changing the pace of the fight.”
From the sound of things, Bisping vs. Romero may go down in March as well. It’d be quite the coup for the UFC if they could get Bisping vs. Romero and Rockhold vs. Jacare on the same card. A great way to set up the next title challenger, no matter who holds the belt.
Rockhold also talked about Khabib Nurmagomedov deserving the next shot at Conor McGregor, Romero’s fight with Weidman, and a whole lot more, so check the whole interview out.