luke-rockhold-ufc-fight-night-35Luke Rockhold is excited about upcoming opponent Tim Boetsch. He wants to perform, he’s up to the task, and all the other things that UFC fighters are when they get their next bookings.

Rockhold (11-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is set to fight Boetsch (17-6 MMA, 8-5 UFC) at UFC 172 on April 26. Really, though, he hasn’t let go of other targets past and present, including Michael Bisping.

“I still want Bisping, of course” he recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “I want both (Bisping and Vitor Belfort). I’m not one to talk s–t unless it’s warranted, and Bisping went out of his way to make some false statements on national TV, so that gets under my skin, and I will keep talking until I get that fight.”

Rockhold’s beef with Bisping stretches back to 2012, when “The Count” appeared on the now-canceled “MMA Uncensored” and said he was top dog when the two sparred in the gym. Belfort, of course, knocked both of them out in successive performances.

Of course, getting a first fight with Bisping is far easier for Rockhold to acquire at this point than a rematch with Belfort, who is scheduled to fight middleweight champ Chris Weidman for the title in May at UFC 173.

Rockhold, a former Strikeforce champ, plans to do his part to make the Bisping fight happen, but he’s only half the equation. Bisping (24-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) has another challenge ahead when he meets Tim Kennedy (17-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at the TUF Nations Finale on April 16.

“My gut says I’ll get it if he can get past Kennedy,” Rockhold said. “Can he beat Kennedy? Truthfully, I’ve trained with Bisping and I fought Kennedy, and I think Kennedy is probably going to beat him.

“I want Bisping to win because I want to beat his ass, but Kennedy is just too tenacious. He’s going to stick to his game plan. He’s going to wrestle him and take him down. Bisping’s tough enough to where I think he can get up and not make it a dominant fight, but I think Kennedy’s tenaciousness will get to him. I think it will be a boring fight, but I think Kennedy will come out with the decision.”

That leaves Rockhold to seethe at Bisping when they run into each other on the UFC scene. He said he ran into his foe at Las Vegas’ RVCA gym and received a cold response.

“He doesn’t really want to say anything,” Rockhold said. “That was it for me. Say you’re sorry. You had your opportunity, face-to-face, in the first time I’d seen him. He just kind of walked by me and didn’t say anything. Then he saw my friend in the parking lot and he’s like, ‘I hope Luke’s not still pissed about what I said.’

“You had the opportunity to say it to my face and you didn’t. Apologize. Be a man, and when he couldn’t spit that out, pretty much that’s it for me. If you give me a sincere apology and you tell me face-to-face, I’ll respect you. But I just can’t respect someone who’s going to (tell) a second-hand apology through a friend in the parking lot. It doesn’t fly.

“He’s going to pay for his comments. If he somehow scrapes by and outpoints Kennedy, he’s going to be in for it because he will not have the opportunity with me. I will lay it on him.”

Rockhold said the training session with Bisping that led to his TV-show comments took place shortly after his Strikeforce title defense against Kennedy.

“I had a wrist injury and a couple things I was trying to let heal, and I wasn’t in the gym at all for five weeks,” he said. “As I was stopping through (in Las Vegas), I was talking to the owner of RVCA and asked if anybody was training, and [the owner] mentioned Bisping. I was like, ‘Ah, I never really liked the guy.’ He was like, ‘He’s really not that bad.’ I ended up going down there, and he talked me into training with him.

“Bisping was two weeks away from his Brian Stann fight and was in great shape, and I went out the night before, hung out with a girl and drank a bunch of wine, and somehow made it into the gym in the morning. That’s what happened, and Bisping went on to talk about it. He has his opinion. One sparring session, and he was completely cool about it, and he gave me his number and said, ‘Call me any time.’ Then he went on to talk crap.”

While it lacks the detail of Patrick Cummins’ jab at Daniel Cormier, Bisping’s comments to Rockhold are another example of the conflict that arises from gym stories that go public. Rockhold, for one, insists that it’s not just in the Olympic training room that teammates are supposed to remain silent about what happens on the training mats, but in all of MMA.

“You don’t get into detail about what exactly went down unless you’re not a man of your word,” he said. “I’ve trained with a lot of the best guys in the world, and I’m not going out there saying anything.”

Despite his lingering irritation, Rockhold said he is focused on beating Boetsch, whom he was originally scheduled to face at UFC 166 before a knee injury forced him to withdraw. But ultimately, that’s something a lot of fighters say when they entertain fights over the shoulders of upcoming opponents.

For Rockhold, it may not matter who is standing across from him, as he is apt to say. But it surely matters who he wants.

For the latest on UFC 172, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

The Tactical Guide to Bisping vs. Henderson II | FIGHTLAND

  • 18 days ago

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Zuffa LLC Michael Bisping's knockout of Luke Rockhold was one of the best underdog stories in mixed martial arts history. Bisping was a last minute replacement, didn't get a read news >>

Michael Bisping Blasts Luke Rockhold and Girlfriend Demi Lovato |

  • 27 days ago

Of course Michael Bisping has something to say about Luke Rockhold's new girlfriend. read news >>

Michael Bisping Knocks Out Luke Rockhold: UFC 204 Free Fight Video |

  • 18 days ago

Michael Bisping finally claimed UFC gold at UFC 199, defeating Luke Rockhold by knockout to become champ. read news >>

Video: Watch UFC 204's Michael Bisping KO Luke Rockhold, win middleweight title and go nuts

  • 18 days ago

Michael Bisping had been fighting in the UFC for more than 10 years by the time he finally got a title shot. See how he captured the middleweight championship inside. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Michael Bisping Puts His Legacy on the Line to Exact Revenge on Dan Henderson

  • 18 days ago

It has recently come to our attention that we’ve been shortchanging Michael Bisping for years. There’s no other way to say it: We underestimated him. We dismissed him. We didn’t like him very much, i read news >>

Michael Bisping predicts he’ll knock out Dan Henderson in the third round at UFC 204

  • 18 days ago

A lot of fighters shy away from giving predictions on their fights. But since when has UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping been shy? He calls his shot for a rematch with Dan Henderson at Saturday’ read news >>

Bisping finally reaping rewards after years of sacrifice

  • 19 days ago

Michael Bisping has had a roller coaster of a career. He's suffered devastating losses and made many sacrifices. But now he's the champ and gets to fight for his belt in front of his home crown in En read news >>

UFC Unfiltered: Michael Bisping and Christian O'Connell

  • 19 days ago

UFC Middleweight champion Michael Bisping calls in to talk about his first title defense at UFC 204 against Dan Henderson, and more. Also, radio presenter Christian O'Connell joins the show to discus read news >>

Michael Bisping Feeling 'Massive Pressure' for Dan Henderson Rematch |

  • 18 days ago

Middleweight champion Michael Bisping feels "massive pressure" heading into his first title defense against Dan Henderson in the UFC 204 main event on Saturday. read news >>

UFC 204: Key Storylines for Bisping vs. Hendo 2 Fight Card

  • 18 days ago

You probably know about Michael Bisping, but what else is going on at UFC 204? We'd be remiss if we glossed over Bisping's valiant—or reckless, depending on how your tastes run—bid for revenge agains read news >>