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UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold says loss to Vitor Belfort helped him mature, welcomes rematch

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You wouldn’t expect to hear it from the newly minted UFC middleweight champion but Luke Rockhold is “thankful” he was brutally knocked out by Vitor Belfort in 2013.

At the time the Strikeforce champion was riding an incredible amount of hype, taking his 10-1 mixed martial arts (MMA) record up against a man who had just finished Michael Bisping via flashy head kick knockout.

It took just half a round for Belfort to repeat the feat against Rockhold, who told the Brendan Schaub “Fighter and The Kid” podcast that it was all for the best.

“All the weight came on my shoulders at that time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you look at how I carried myself after that fight and how much better I’ve gotten from that, I was a kid then and I matured so much more in and outside the cage. That fight was everything to me. I’m so thankful I got kicked in the head. Thank you (Belfort), thank you but I’m gonna fucking kill you.”

The loss was a short-lived setback in Rockhold’s career, finishing his next opponents violently, including undefeated middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the fourth round of a co-main event beatdown at UFC 194.

Despite the “thankful” attitude, Rockhold makes no bones about being angry over the fact Belfort defeated him while using a testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) exemption.

“It’s unbelievable the stuff he gets away with. He should be prosecuted at a certain level, like he could potentially have been the guy to take (Michael) Bisping’s eye,” Rockhold said, referring to another one of Belfort’s brutal knockouts. “Stuff like that, it’s just unreal how he can get away with it and he needs to be punished and I’m the man to do it.”

“The Phenom” is game:

Source:: mma mania