UFC middleweight contender Luke Rockhold talks about not getting to fight Anderson Silva at UFC 212.
We still don’t have a replacement for Kelvin Gastelum to face Anderson Silva at UFC 212 on June 3rd. Gastelum was removed from the card after an in-competition USADA test revealed he tested positive for marijuana metabolites.
Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold wanted to take on “The Spider” in his home country, but Silva shot that idea down (along with a Vitor Belfort rematch), citing that he was coming off a win over Derek Brunson, while Rockhold and Belfort were coming off losses. Rockhold was recently on Submission Radio, and he reacted to Silva’s decision and reasoning behind not fighting him.
“I don’t think he likes the match-up,” Rockhold said. “Yeah, I don’t know. They offered me the fight, it was way before my projected date when I would be ready, but the fight with Anderson, it seemed fun at the time to go down to Rio and do it. So I was up for it. I think he’s looking for other routes. I’m not sure exactly what he’s doing. I don’t know if he’s trying to get favorable match-ups. I think he thinks he matches up well with the likes of Kelvin Gastelum for some reason and I think he’s kind of put himself on the line where he could potentially leapfrog us and jump for a title. So who knows. If he wants to get back out there and fight for the title, if he wants to fight the guys, I mean, fight the guys. Fight the top guys. You know, this isn’t the legends league. If you want to fight in the UFC at the top of the game when you’re ranked like that, you should fight the best guys out there. And the UFC wanted it, Dana wanted it, everyone wanted it. Anderson declined it.”
“He made an excuse saying I’m coming off a loss and (he’s) coming off a win, but if you look at his record he’s [1-4 (1 NC)] in his last five fights, six fights and his win is questionable,” Rockhold continued, “so I don’t know where he is. He’s justifying that case is kind of… I don’t really understand that justification. So I’m just coming off a title loss and going five and one against the best guys in the world. So yeah, good luck with that one. But we’re moving on to UFC 213 and we’re trying to find a contender, somebody who’s up there, somebody who wants to get dirty and get back to that title and that’s what I want.”
Rockhold was scheduled to fight Ronaldo Souza last November before pulling out with a knee injury. He says he’s now 100% ready to return and as stated in that last quote, UFC 213 on July 8th is his target date. It’s two months shy of one year since he lost his title to Michael Bisping at UFC 199.