Strikeforce Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is expecting to face Tim Kennedy in his next title defense in July although the bout is not yet official. What Rockhold really wants though is a shot at UFC champion Anderson Silva. Rockhold took the title from BJJ master Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in a five-round decision at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov in September, 2011. He has since defended the belt once in a one round TKO win over UFC veteran Keith Jardine.
Rockhold spoke to MMA Fighting's Mike Chiappetta about Kennedy and his ambitions to face the very best in the world.
Here's what he had to say about Kennedy:
"I'm trying to do what I can, and I think Tim Kennedy is another huge step in that direction. By no means is he a stepping stone, because he's a very tough guy. It will take a lot to beat him and it would mean a lot to beat him. He's a very underrated fighter, and I'm looking forward to keep proving my status, if that's what I have to do. But I feel I can compete with anyone in the world at my weight class, and I'm going to prove that by keeping on winning.
"He's a tough guy, so tenacious, and just doesn't want to give up," he said. "He's going to keep coming for the takedown. He's not going to quit but I've got to break him. My wrestling defense is one of my best attributes, so I feel very comfortable in that. I'm just going to try to break him on the takedown the whole time, and I'm going to try to play my range on the feet. If we get to the ground, I'm confident in my jiu-jitsu. I just don't want to be on bottom. He's a beast on top, so I ain't going to have that."
After the jump we'll see what Rockhold has to say about the UFC champ..."It's the dream fight. I'm here to fight the best in the world, and it'd be a dream to fight Anderson Silva. If I didn't fight him before his career was over, it would be a disappointment to me. I want to fight the best in the world, and fighting him would be amazing. And getting him while he's champion? Everyone wants to be that guy to beat him. I want to go down in the books. I hope he keeps going, because I want that fight.
"I am the Strikeforce champ. But I feel like I'm in contention for his belt. That's how I look at it sometimes. I am the champion of Strikeforce, but I'm looking to be the best in the world, and I can't prove that without fighting the guys in the UFC. So, eventually, that's what I'm going to need to do."