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Rockhold: People are closed-minded and believe the UFC hype machine

Top middleweight contender Luke Rockhold is glad he's finally getting the credit he deserves in the UFC when people dismissed his talent in Strikeforce.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Strikeforce was largely considered the second best MMA promotion with the second best MMA fighters. When the UFC bought out Strikeforce in 2011, Scott Coker's roster merged with Dana White's under the Zuffa umbrella, and many were unsure of of how well Coker's boys would stack up against the divisional elite.

As it turns out, the Strikeforce army invaded the UFC and were taking no prisoners. Daniel Cormier is the light heavyweight champion; Robbie Lawler has conquered the welterweight division; Ronda Rousey is the promotion's biggest star; and Luke Rockhold could soon become the next Strikeforce fighter to wear UFC gold.

Rockhold, who is set to challenge Chris Weidman for the middleweight championship at UFC 194, went into detail on how his fellow Strikeforce comrades didn't get the respect they deserved before joining forces with the UFC.

"Tim Kennedy never got the respect he deserved," Rockhold recently told

"Look at us now. Myself, Yoel Romero, Tim Kennedy and Jacare [Souza]. There's Weidman, and the rest of us are all from Strikeforce."

The AKA standout won the Strikeforce Middleweight title when he took on Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza - who is now ranked as the #2 UFC middleweight in the world - in 2011.

"I fought Jacare, Jacare was ranked No. 5 in the world, maybe even higher at the point I fought him," Rockhold said. "And instead of giving me the credit, because I was the kid from Strikeforce Challengers who people didn't believe in, this happened a lot, they took credit away from Jacare for who he was and what he's capable of, and bumped me to like No. 10 and put him outside to like No. 15. How does that levy out?"

Rockhold believes the UFC hype machine was responsible for fans' skewed perceptions of the Strikeforce talent. The WEC roster also faced similar critique before merging with the UFC in 2010.

"People are closed-minded," Rockhold said. "They believe in the hype train of the UFC. You've got to give the UFC credit for making people believe it is the best talent. I'm just glad to be here and finally get the credit I deserve."

Luke Rockhold will square off with Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 194 on December 12th at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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