Luke Rockhold’s career may have taken a downturn in recent years, but he’ll forever go down in the history books as having won both the Strikeforce and UFC middleweight titles. If there is one thing that Rockhold wished had gone differently in his career, however, it’s getting to face “The Spider.”
On the “Major Waves Podcast,” Rockhold believed that had he beaten Vitor Belfort in his UFC debut back in 2013, he would’ve gotten a title shot against then-champion Anderson Silva.
“I wish I would have had the chance to fight Anderson,” Rockhold said (Transcription via MMAjunkie) “Especially in that time, I think I would have beat him. I don’t know – I think there’s just promotional reasons. They didn’t see it quite right at that time. If I would have beat Vitor (Belfort), then me and Anderson would have fought right away, straight away. But then I had to go reprove myself through the ranks after that loss.”
Not only did Rockhold lose to Belfort, but just months later Silva would lose his title by knockout to Chris Weidman, the man Rockhold would eventually defeat to become champion himself.
Coming off a KO defeat at light heavyweight vs. Jan Blachowicz, Rockhold sits at 1-3 in his last four, including the stunning upset suffered against Michael Bisping that ended his brief reign as champion. While he’s not officially retired, don’t expect him back in the Octagon any time soon.
“I’m taking a leave of absence,” Rockhold said. “I’m just kind of doing my thing right now – getting life organized, getting things together. It’s good to be back on the West Coast. I was training out in Florida and it’s just – Florida’s tough. It’s hot, it’s humid – it’s a different lifestyle.”
As for Silva, the man Rockhold wanted to face several years ago, he’s been on the shelf since a leg kick TKO loss to Jared Cannonier at UFC 237 in 2019. It’s reasonable to think that we won’t see these two ever square off in an MMA bout.