In just a few hours, UFC on FOX 15 will kick off and the Number 2 and Number 4 ranked middleweights will square off in the center of the Octagon for the main event. The winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Luke Rockhold will likely go on to face the division champion, especially since the other contender fight (Ronaldo Souza vs. Yoel Romero) in the MW race has been disrupted.
Bloody Elbow recently sat down with Luke Rockhold, who spoke candidly about recent media comparisons to Anderson Silva, whether he'd be ready to step in if Weidman or Belfort pull out of their upcoming UFC 187 bout, how long he'd like to see the punishment phase for PED abusers extended to, as well as his thoughts on fighters that stay in the sport too long. Here's what he had to say:
A few days ago, Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports wrote a great article that noted the similarity in Luke's career trajectory and Anderson Silva's when he was at the same place in his own career, the 15 fight mark. As a matter of fact, the data indicates that his pace is actually ahead of Silva's at 13-2 with 10 first round finishes, while Anderson was 13-2 with only 9 first round finishes. Iole went a little further to ponder if he might in fact be "the next Anderson Silva," as his article's title reflects.
Rockhold has been very forthright with his opinion on PED users, an opinion that didn't waver when it came to the iconic Silva.
It's a flattering comparison and it's great to know that my skill is being recognized in this fashion, but at the same time, I'm looking to walk my own path, to blaze my own trail. It's hard not to respect what Anderson has done and all his accomplishments, but unfortunately, there's still a questionable aspect hanging over it now. Still, it's a great complement to be compared to him, regardless of current circumstances. Now, it's time for me to go out and prove the people that believe in me right, and the ones that don't, wrong. I've just got to do my thing.
With Weidman vs. Belfort just around the corner, the MMA community is collectively holding their breath to see if the fight will actually go off as planned, since both athletes have shown a propensity for injury, resulting in several bouts being changed. Rockhold, while looking forward to a much needed rest after his fight tonight, says with a win over Machida tonight, he would be willing to step in for either man at UFC 187, should the need arise.
My fingers are crossed that the fight actually happens. My body needs a rest, but opportunities like that are hard to pass up. Of course I'd take it. Looking at that fight, and knowing the reputation both guys have, it's definitely worth my while to stay in shape and keep my tools sharpened. I'm really looking forward to having a little break after this fight, though.
Hector Lombard's recent positive test and subsequent year-long suspension didn't sit well with the California native, who expressed frustration that the punishment wasn't stricter. His stance on harsher penalties would call for a much longer suspension from competition.
I think at least a two year ban would have been better in this situation. They've been talking so much about increasing the penalties and this and that, but they only gave a one year suspension. I'm on board for at least two years, but four years would work ideally, in my opinion.
With the threat of CTE becoming more prevalent in all contact sports, the MMA community has been seeing more and more fighters come forward with concerns for their future. Seeing some of his peers that are well past their career expiration date continue fighting is hard to watch, and is an unfortunate byproduct of being an athlete.
If your chin is starting to disappear and your body is just not there anymore, it's probably time to reevaluate. The thing is, it's hard because so many don't know when these things are happening, or just refuse to accept or acknowledge it. It's not just about the paycheck, it's also about continuing to live the dream. If it ever comes to that for me, I hope that the friends I've surrounded myself with would step in and help me.