Luke Rockhold has some big-name opponents in mind for his UFC return.
Rockhold has not competed since suffering a second-round knockout loss to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239. The former UFC middleweight champion thought he would leave professional MMA behind, but that is the case no longer.
“I still want to fight. Being away has given me a chance to clear my head and do the things I’ve always missed doing. I’ve missed a lot of life. 15 years of MMA and always getting ready for a fight and not being able to go here, travel there and do what I want. It’s always relied upon a training camp and it’s this, and it’s nice to get away from it and just be able to go on my own and be free to do what I like to do at that time,” Rockhold told Submission Radio. "So, I’m still enjoying myself, still recovering and still getting my body right too. There’s injuries and things that have stacked up over the years that I was compromised with, and it was about getting that right too. So, I’m feeling better, I’m getting better, and I know I still have more in me. I just have to be focused without any outside pressure, any weight on my shoulders, coming in with all kind of things that I allowed and took upon myself I don’t think helped the situation where I was at. So, I’m gonna come back and when I’m good and ready and that will be sometime soon. I imagine at the end of the year or early next year."
A returning Rockhold also told Submission Radio that he will return to middleweight following a brief trip up to 205. Rockhold has several opponents in mind for his Octagon return. Those high-profile names include former UFC middleweight champions Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker.
“Anderson would be fun, but I don’t think he wants anything of this sort. He called me out when he was in the UFC, and I called him out and he ran away, and then, you know, even at this point I don’t think he still wants it. I’ve put that fight in the hands of their team and they’ve seemingly worked their way around it as best they can over the years – many, many years of it. There’s Darren Till, there’s the grappler the Norwegian kid, he looks good, Hermansson looks tough. I want somebody who means something and is a name, something meant to be. I left the division the number two-ranked middleweight in the world. So, they can say what they want because I’m unranked at the moment, but I can come back and reassert myself very quickly if I need to,” says Rockhold.
The returning Rockhold plans on fighting by the end of this year.