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Luke Rockhold offered to fight Anderson Silva at UFC 212; Dana White says it's 'a process'


UFC President Dana White confirmed Luke Rockhold has been offered a fight against Anderson Silva at June’s UFC 212 event after Silva’s original opponent, Kelvin Gastelum, was recently pulled from the scheduled matchup.

Gastelum (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) received notice of a potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation for having marijuana metabolites in his system during an in-competition test taken in conjunction with his knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. He was removed from UFC 212 as a result, leaving Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) without an opponent.

Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who was in attendance at UFC 210 on Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y., told Padlokt.com that he’s been offered and accepted a fight with the former longtime UFC middleweight champion.

However, he admitted he didn’t expect Silva to agree to the June 12 pay-per-view co-main event showdown at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

UFC President Dana White was slightly more optimistic about the situation, though he admitted booking “The Spider” in any fight brings its own unique set of challenges.

“Obviously Anderson was willing to take on Kelvin Gastelum, who is a very tough and dangerous guy,” White told MMAjunkie at UFC 210’s post-event news conference. “I got to talk to Anderson. You all know, everybody in this room knows what it’s like dealing with Anderson. Not that it’s a bad thing; it’s just a process. It’s a process that I’m going to have to go through now.”

Although there’s “a process” to getting Silva in the octagon, White said that at the end of the day, the Brazilian almost always does what’s asked of him and is up to take on any challenge.

Silva, No. 10 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, is coming off a narrow unanimous-decision victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in February and was on board to fight Gastelum, who has been tearing through his opposition of late. Rockhold, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since he dropped the UFC middleweight title to Michael Bisping in stunning fashion at UFC 199 this past June.

White didn’t say if Rockhold was the only fight offered to Silva, but that appears to be the front-running option. UFC 212 is just two months away, though, so White knows if the fight is going to happen, he must work quickly.

“One of the things that I’ve always respected about Anderson – he didn’t want to fight Chael Sonnen again,” White said. “He said, ‘The guy is disrespectful, he’s a punk, and he doesn’t deserve to fight me.’ He fought him. There’s always been times where – Anderson steps up, and Anderson fights. Anderson and fought (Daniel) Cormier at (UFC) 200. He’s a stud, man. He’s the (greatest of all time), and I’m looking forward to walking through this process for the Luke Rockhold fight. We’ll see what happens.”

For more on UFC 212, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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