Luke Rockhold put his gloves in the cage at UFC 278 in August, after fighting to a unanimous decision loss opposite Paulo Costa. In the Octagon, Rockhold claimed the bloody bout with Costa would be his last ever fight.
If that’s true, Rockhold ends his career with a 16-6 record and one reign as UFC middleweight champion. He won the belt with a win over Chris Weidman in 2015. He lost the belt in his first defence, against Michael Bisping (who was coming in on ultra short notice).
Since the loss to Bisping, Rockhold has gone 1-3 with a win over David Branch and then back-to-back-to-back losses against Costa, Jan Blackhowicz (KO) and Yoel Romero (KO).
Despite Rockhold’s supposed retirement, the fighter himself recently said he might be tempted to return to the cage if Alex Pereira dethroned Israel Adesanya as UFC middleweight champion.
One man who doesn’t want to see that happen is Daniel Cormier. Rockhold’s close friend and longtime training partner was unequivocal in his hopes that Rockhold stay retired. He spoke about that on his YouTube channel recently.
“Luke, don’t come back,” Cormier said (ht MMA Fighting). “It’s only been a few weeks and it was absolutely perfect. It couldn’t be better. Because Luke Rockhold has been the guy that has not been loved, but in that performance, he gained the praise of the masses. Not only did he gain the praise of the masses though, he gained the praise of his opponent in the competition. Paulo Costa came up to me a week later and told me how special it was to share the Octagon with Luke.
“Luke, don’t come back. It’s fine. Go do jiu-jitsu if you want to. Go to ADCC.”
Cormier continued to talk about his own retirement and how he could see why his good buddy might be feeling the itch to return.
“The reality is this. Part of the thing about retiring is you miss the rush of being in front of all of those people and it shows itself when you’re by yourself. When he’s by himself and he’s with his dogs and those thoughts start to creep in, ‘I can still do this.’ Especially on those days when you feel good, you forget about how bad you feel in there. You gotta fight the urge. We all get it.
“No, man. We can’t. I can’t. Maybe Luke can with some time away, but I would advise for him to stay away. Don’t go back, especially not now. We’re still kind of riding the wave of what was in Utah [at UFC 278].
“He was universally loved after that last fight. And if you get that, especially when it isn’t something you get all the time, you may want to go and recreate that. Because you start thinking, ‘Well, that’s my reality.’ But is it? You don’t know.”
Rockhold joined the UFC when the promotion bought out Strikeforce, where he was the middleweight champion, in 2013. In the Octagon he holds notable wins over Bisping and Lyoto Machida.