2014 had already been a pretty, pretty good one in the career of Luke Rockhold, and it looks like it just got that much better.
In the latest episode of “UFC Tonight”, the show’s Ariel Helwani, reported that Rockhold has signed a new eight fight deal with the UFC. Not only that, but UFC boss man Dana White reportedly confirmed that Rockhold will be receiving another “big fight”.
If the former Strikeforce champ wins, then not surprisingly, he’ll be tapped for a title shot.
That’s some good news for Rockhold and his supporters, and it makes a lot of sense as well. If you think about it, this time last year, most casual fans only knew Rockhold as the ‘dude’ who got flatted by Vitor Belfort with ‘that kick’. That bout went down in May, 2013.
Of course, long time observers and Stikeforce fans knew that Rockhold still had plenty to show, and in 2014, he did just that.
In January, the 30 year-old returned to the winner’s circle by crumpling Costa Philippou with a punishing body kick in round one. Then in April, he tapped Tim Boetsch out with a nasty, inverted triangle-choke / kimura.
Then of course, earlier this month, Rockhold became the first man to submit Michael Bisping, as he put away the perennial contender with a second round, guillotine choke.
The American Kickboxing Academy fighter currently sits at #5 in the UFC’s middleweight division.
So, now it will be interesting to see who the UFC taps to fight Rockhold next. Chances are he’ll be sitting on the sidelines for at least a few months, as other top contenders like Lyoto Machida, “Jacare” Souza, Yoe Romero and Belfort all have fights booked.
Tim Kennedy is currently available, but since he’s coming off a loss to Romero (albeit controversial), is ranked #7, and Rockhold defeated him once before, chances are that’s not a bout his camp wants.
White has expressed an interest in having Rockhold fight Machida in the past, so perhaps that fight could happen if “The Dragon” defeats CB Dolloway next month.