Rockhold: I want Anderson Silva before he retires


Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold fights Keith Jardine this Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET on the  Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine card, broadcast on Showtime. USA TODAY interviewed Rockhold about his upcoming fight, and training with AKA teammate "King Mo" Lawal, and more.

Sergio Non: Do you think Jardine deserves a title shot?

Luke Rockhold: No. I can't say I think he deserves a title shot, but at the same time, I think it's a tough fight and I'm not taking him lightly.

I don't think many people could say he deserves a title shot, but given the current roster with Strikeforce and the middleweights and contenders and whatnot -- Tim Kennedy says he's having some problems with his body, from what I hear, so he's not ready to step up. I don't believe Jacare's ready for a rematch; I was ready for that, if that were to come.

They saw Keith Jardine -- maybe he's a big name. He's a tough opponent. He's been in there with all the best guys.

SN: He's known for looking herky-jerky in the cage. How would you describe his style?

LR: That's what it is. It's herky-jerky. It's funka-wunka. I don't know. It's an interesting style.

It's hard to read guys like that. Obviously, you've seen over and over, people misread his timing and get caught in certain positions.

He hits hard. He's rocked all the biggest guys. He dropped Chuck Liddell; obviously his chin was a lot better back then. He rocked Rampage. He's dropped Brandon Vera. He's rocked and dropped and knocked out some good guys at 205, so you've got to be prepared for his power and his awkwardness.

I don't know where his game plan is. It looks like he likes the takedown a lot. Looks like he likes to stand and bang and suck you into a brawl.

Looks like he's been going for the takedowns a lot more, but my last fight, I avoided the takedown. That was a big part of my win, stuffing takedowns.So he might just be looking to brawl. I'll be ready for whatever.

SN: How vulnerable do you think he is to someone with cleaner, more orthodox technique?

LR: It definitely helps, because he's more wide and loopy. A cleaner, sharper style, more straightforward, is going to catch him first. That always lands first, the faster, straighter punches.

You might see more offensive wrestling in this fight. With Jacare, that was more of a defensive wrestling. I feel like my jiu-jitsu's one of the top in this sport, but that wasn't my goal in that fight, to be offensive and try to take him down. I actually ended up going for a takedown once in the Jacare fight; I wasn't even sure really what I was doing.

SN: What makes you confident that you'll have the edge (in Jiu-Jitsu)?

LR: My experience, my speed. I feel very confident in my jiu-jitsu in the sport. Having a guy like Jacare on top of me and not feeling threatened.

I felt like I could even pose some (grappling) attacks towards Jacare in that fight. Obviously I didn't try, but I felt comfortable being on bottom and moving around with Jacare.

He's probably the second-best in the whole sport of fighting jiu-jitsu-wise, second to Roger Gracie, probably. I'd say Jacare's even more dangerous just because he has that takedown aspect.

Roger Gracie doesn't have the takedowns. He can't get it to where he wants a lot of times. But Jacare, why he does so well is, he's always been one of the best takedown artists in jiu-jitsu. In the fight sport, you've got to be able to take the fight where you want it, and that's where he thrives; so he can get guys down and smother them and usually choke them out.

SN: Were you disappointed not to be facing Tim Kennedy?

LR: Yeah. I want to fight the best guys in my division and the best guys in the sport. That's what I'm here for. I want to be the best.

All the guys that are rated the highest are in the UFC right now. It'd be nice if we could get some of those guys in our division over here in Strikeforce, because it doesn't look like we're going anywhere. If they could bring them in to challenge, I'd be more than (willing) to welcome those guys into Strikeforce and put my belt on the line for them.

SN: Who in Zuffa do you see as worthy challengers besides Tim Kennedy?

LR: UFC-wise -- anybody over there. I don't care; I'd fight anybody in the top 10.

They say Anderson Silva's only got four fights left; I want to be one of those four fights. I want to get on that track. Whoever I've got to go through to get there, that's what I want.

SN: Seems like there's a few guys already lining up for Anderson, though.

LR: Yeah, exactly. I'm not saying I want him right away, but I want one of those four fights.

It's always been a dream to fight the best in the world; that's what I live for. I hate second place. I hate being second best. I want to challenge myself against the best in the world, and right now, all the highest-rated guys are in the UFC.

I think me, Kennedy and Jacare are very underrated in this sport and in our divisions right. I think we could possibly beat any of those guys in the top 10. I think we're all tough.

We don't get the same respect because we're in Strikeforce versus the UFC. I'd like to see any of us fighting any of them is going to give Strikeforce a lot more credit.

I think if they were smart, they'd bring over some fighters to bring some credibility to Strikeforce. They'd bring some eyes and ears over and pay attention to this if they want to keep growing Strikeforce.

The fact that they want Strikeforce around and they want to build it -- I think bringing over UFC guys would be a huge role in propelling Strikeforce to that next level, so I hope and I pray that they bring people over.

Read entire article...

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Recent Comments »

MyFedorbeatyourAnderson site profile image  

1/6/12 2:55 PM by MyFedorbeatyourAnderson

No luke. The force is not strong with this one.

DamnSevern site profile image  

1/6/12 2:22 PM by DamnSevern

and maybe if Luke wasn't coming off a 22 month layoff he would have finished Jacare.

rosario00 site profile image  

1/6/12 2:18 PM by rosario00

He would've won had he not gassed out.. Yeah big IF seeing as how conditioning is part of the game.. But Jacare IMO is still more skilled than Rockhold

DamnSevern site profile image  

1/6/12 1:32 PM by DamnSevern

 its funny, lots of people thought jacare was going to run through rockhold.

UGCTT_Gaspare site profile image  

1/6/12 1:32 PM by UGCTT_Gaspare

Yup I dont get it, I wanna see him fight Bisping

Anarkis site profile image  

1/6/12 1:25 PM by Anarkis


DamnSevern site profile image  

1/6/12 1:24 PM by DamnSevern

 the lack of respect for rockholds game continues.

JohnnyChrist site profile image  

1/6/12 7:10 AM by JohnnyChrist

Ok, what's wrong with saying that Rockhold has put himself in great position to be a contender within a year or two? LolIf he beats Jardine, Kennedy, and then say, Jacare again, he's most likely cleaned out the division (assuming Lawler is going to lose everytime he faces a grappler), so he goes to the UFC to face a tough top ten or even top five guy, say he wins that. Sounds like a number one contender at that point.

thebasher site profile image  

1/5/12 8:43 PM by thebasher

LOL at Rockhold