Luke Rockhold will return to the cage after a two-year hiatus to take on Sean Strickland at UFC 268, but what, if anything, does the former middleweight champion have left to prove?
Rockhold is coming off back-to-back knockout losses to Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz and admits he doesn’t want to end his career on a bad note.
The 36-year-old MMA veteran ‘wants to end this b-tch’ on his own terms and still believes he has what it takes to become champion.
“I think a lot of reasons. Ending it on my own terms, I think, is a big deal for me,” Rockhold told Ariel Helwani during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour (h/t Nicole Bosco of MMA News). “I feel like I haven’t done myself justice the last couple fights. I don’t think I fought to my potential. I think I fought with a lot of weight on my shoulders and didn’t really perform to my liking. I’m getting older. And if there’s ever a time, it’s gonna be now. And I still feel like I’m the best in the game when I’m on. And I just gotta put the work in, get healthy, and get right.”
“Fighting is fighting,” he added. “I’m under contract, and I just wanna fight, and I want a chance to get back my gold, and finish this bitch on my own terms. And so that’s why I’m here, and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
Rockhold was formerly considered one of the best middleweights in the world, having won both the Strikeforce and UFC middleweight titles. He will look to re-cement his status as a top-tier middleweight with a win over Strickland at UFC 268, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden Arena in New York City.