Luke Rockhold will be headlining UFC Fight Night 35 opposite Costa Philippou on January 15, but the event certainly won’t be the first time the California-based fighter has had the honor of being the a part of the marquee bout of a fight show. No, the American Kickboxing Academy-trained fighter has been in the spotlight before – twice for the now defunct Strikeforce organization, and after Zuffa bought Strikeforce, once for the UFC. And while his UFC on FX 8 scrap with Vitor Belfort didn’t quite end in his favor – he was felled by a spectacular spinning back-kick midway through the first round – it doesn’t diminish the fact that Rockhold was Strikeforce’s last middleweight champ, and is still considered an elite fighter in the division.
Here’s what you need to know about Rockhold ahead of his UFC Fight Night 35 bout, in easily digestible form:
- His MMA record is 10-2, with nine bouts coming under the Strikeforce banner.
- His first fight was on July 24, 2007, for a local California promotion called Melee on the Mountain.
- His last fight, against Belfort, was on May 18, 2013, in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
- Def. Tim Kennedy via unanimous decision at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy.
- Def. Keith Jardine via TKO at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine.
- Def. Ronaldo Souza via unanimous decision at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov.
Rockhold has a well-rounded game and fantastic cardio. Of his 10 wins:
- Two have come via unanimous decision.
- He has five wins by submission.
- He’s won two bouts via TKO – with punches and a knee to the body.
A wrestler throughout high school, Rockhold went on to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; he received his black belt in October under Leandro Vieira.