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Luke Rockhold says it was a ‘wise move’ for Khamzat Chimaev to turn down fight with him

Luke Rockhold understands why Khamzat Chimaev refused to fight him.

UFC 221 Press Conference
Luke Rockhold answers questions from reporters at the UFC 221 press conference ahead of his middleweight fight against Yoel Romero in Perth, Australia.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Long before Luke Rockhold was booked to fight Paulo Costa at UFC 277, the former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion was offered a fight with Khamzat Chimaev.

Khamzat allegedly turned him down twice, though, and as disappointed as Rockhold was initially, the UFC veteran thinks ‘Borz’ ultimately made the right move.

“Khamzat didn’t take the fight, by the way, we were set to fight. He wanted to stay at 170. I think that was a wise move for him at this point,” Rockhold told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview (h/t BJPenn.com).

It may have ended up being the right decision for Chimaev to turn down that fight as the Allstar Training Center product went on to beat Li Jingliang and Gilbert Burns to land a position in the top three UFC welterweight rankings and establish himself as one of the top contenders in that division.

Rockhold, on the other hand, is excited to make his return to the UFC against a man he actually considers a worthy opponent in ‘Borrachinha’.

“It gets me up in the morning. It’s always, I mean, I’m not here to fight bums. I’m here to fight people that have proven their worth, and that gets me excited. I don’t get excited to get up and fight f*****g idiots,” Rockhold, who hasn’t fought since his 2019 KO loss to Jan Blachowciz, said. “Honestly, the Sean Strickland thing wasn’t that motivating. Paulo, he’s tested himself against the best and he’s just a f*****g piece of s**t and a meathead. So there’s certain parts about him that just get me excited to go correct the situation and get back on top. So, that’s what motivates me, I want people that motivate me.”

UFC 277, which is expected to feature Rockhold vs. Costa on the main card, is scheduled to take place on July 30 at a TBD location.