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Luke Rockhold calling for “UFC vs. Strikeforce” show

Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier - StrikeforceThe UFC has been actively booking former Strikeforce stars recently freed up to fight as the result of their previous professional home going under. Two of the most significant scraps put together thus far involve Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier, both of whom will compete on April 20 at UFC on FOX 7. Now, another one of the failed promotion’s top dogs is looking to duke it out with an opponent at the event in hopes the UFC will give the lot a chance to show Strikeforce fighters belong in the Octagon.

According to Strikeforce’s middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, he is tired of being viewed as a second-rate Mixed Martial Artist just because his success came on a smaller stage. And, as he pointed out to MMAJunkie, he’d love to take on a top contender to prove his doubters wrong.

“We’ve been dealing with it for quite a while now,” said Rockhold of the lack of respect Strikeforce fighters often get from fans. “There are a lot of nuthuggers out there – UFC nuthuggers. I’d like to come in there and make a splash, and just like everyone else, let’s represent the name. Personally, with this card and San Jose being the home of Strikeforce, this being a big FOX card, and we just shut down Strikeforce, let’s just do an all UFC vs. Strikeforce card. I think that makes a lot of sense and there could be a lot of hype behind that. Then we can really keep score.”

In terms of opponents, Rockhold pointed to Vitor Belfort based on the Brazilian’s recent knockout of Michael Bisping, though he also said he’d be fine with facing champ Anderson Silva too even if he’d prefer a warm-up fight first.

“Belfort won, and he makes sense. Lombard could be down the line too. Who knows? I just want to fight. Truthfully, Belfort probably makes the most unless they want to do a champion vs. champion fight. But I’m game for whatever they want,” offered Rockhold on the topic.

The 10-1 Rockhold won eight fights under the Strikeforce banner including those against Keith Jardine, Tim Kennedy, and Ronaldo Souza. He has been out of action since July due to injury but is now said to be 100% and training at full speed in anticipation of his UFC debut.


  • raker says:

    Sounds interesting but my thought is that Zuffa probably wants the Strikeforce brand to die now. If they do a UFC vs Strikeforce event and the SF fighters all win, what does that do to the UFC brand that they all still fight under? Rock hold should let go of whatever issues he has and embrace his new home. Just winning will move validate his ability.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Calling so many fans nuthuggers is really going to endear him to them and boost his popularity in his new home when he tries to get the UFC belt. Although I am curious, are they merging the SF/UFC belts, or are the SF belts kinda just getting forgotten?

  • trupert says:

    I’m fine with any of the scenarios. I guess it depends on when Spider wants to fight and if he has a problem with any one. If Spider wants to fight as soon as possible, then it is Rockhold. Belfort and Weidman can fight Le and Larkin. If Spider wants to fight late spring/early summer, then Belfort makes since because Lombard fights in early March so given a minimum of 3 months training camp puts him into the summer. And Weidman is out until summer already and after the lay off, will need a warm up match before the other guys.

    So while JBJ spends this year fighting Sonnen then probably Hendo before he gets to Spider and GSP saying he needs time to build muscle mass etc and wants a warmup fight at MW, also putting him a year before fighting Silva, might as well do this:
    Spider vs Rockhold – UFC 159 (co-headline with JBJ-Sonnen)
    Larkin vs Carmont or Philippou UFC-Fuel 9 or the next UFC-FX card (probably in April)
    Belfort vs Souza (timing would be right for both to be ready at the same time. Switch Souza and Larkin if need be or stick in Le vs Belfort)

    Weidman vs Le (in the summer) (or Lombard/Okami winner if Weidman wants to a stronger test)
    Lombard (if not Weidman) then top guy available (Souza, Kennedy, Le, Philippou etc.) or Spider.

    If Spider fights in April, then he can fight again in Aug or Sept. So be it against Lombard or Belfort since Weidman wouldn’t be ready if he fights a warmup in early summer.

    Spider can fight year-end show/Super Bowl14 vs Weidman or JBJ.


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