Luke Rockhold Talks Return, Offers Sympathy for Chris Weidman
After coming to terms with losing his title, Rockhold suffered a knee injury that forced him to pull out of his fight this weekend in Melbourne, Australia with Jacare Souza.
What happened to his knee?
Speaking to the guys at Submission Radio this past weekend, Rockhold explained what the injury was and how he going about his rehabilitation.
"I've had quite a few assessments of the knee from different doctors," Rockhold said. "A small bundle is pulled off from the ACL at the detachment point so I'm trying to go through a natural process of healing where they say there's a good potential that it heals itself so I've done two series of PRP shots and I might do stem cells again.
"I'm trying to do everything to avoid surgery because that's key to me. Any time you go into the ACL arthoscopic or reconstruction that's a good 12 months, year out. I'm told it could potentially reattach itself in a few months and then I can start kicking again. It's weird because it feels good in so many ways, but at the moment it feels like my knee is going to fall apart if I kick at full power so I'm just trying to lay off that."
Trying to work around the injury
Such was the extent of the injury, Rockhold found himself not being able to kick at all, which was never going to be an option with this fight with Souza coming up.
"I tried to work around for a week or so, but then it was time to test it," Rockhold said. "I tried it, but then If I threw a kick and it didn't land flush then it felt like my knee was going to fall apart.
"I knew I needed to show up. I knew it wasn't time for a half assed performance. Jacare is no slouch and I knew I needed my left knee to kick. I used it last time and I'd need it this time. It's my biggest weapon and not being able to kick was something I had to deal with last time.
"There are some things you can't work around leading into a fight, I've put up with a lot of injuries, but this isn't something I could deal with leading into the fight."
Rockhold then outlined a target return date and confirmed that his originally scheduled opponent would be the one he'd want to come back and face.
"Given the timetable of what is going on with my potential recovery and Bisping and Yoel Romero, I probably think February or March would be a good,"Rockhold said. "That March area could be perfect for me and I think Jacare is the most clear cut way back to the title. I don't want to fight another guy and then have a question mark about who gets the next shot you know.
"I want to go straight down the throat, I want to get Jacare, finish my business with Jacare and then leave no if ands or buts for who's the next in line to get that shot, whether it's Bisping or Romero."
Should Romero be next in line?
The American was next asked about what he made of Yoel Romero's performance against Chris Weidman at UFC 205. He also pointed to the fact that what happened was justification for why he said he'd only fight the Cuban himself over five rounds.
"He's had some decent performances," Rockhold said. "Yoel is always dangerous, you can't rush or force a fight with Yoel. I knew that and that's why I wanted to fight him in a five-round fight. Weidman started forcing the issue in the third round knowing it was probably a 1-1 scenario and he paid for it.
"Yoel is a very explosive guy and he kept baiting in for that flying knee when he was going in for the takedown. Obviously, I think Yoel was get his timing and his corner were calling for it so that was a pretty brutal shot, but it was, what it was."
Sympathy for Weidman
Despite not being the best of friends and their rivalry well know, Rockhold offered sympathy for the way things transpired for Chris Weidman in front of his hometown fans.
"It's tough, it's tough to get back, I don't mind Weidman that much, he's a nice guy," Rockhold said. "He's a harmless individual really. For him to take two losses in that fashion it's pretty tough to see for anyone. I don't wish no harm on the guy, but yeah for him to campaign for that fight in New York as long he did and then to lose like that, yeah it must be tough."
Not fancying Bisping's chances
When asked about Bisping's chances in a potential title fight with Romero, Rockhold was fancying that the Brit would be keeping his belt.
"I think it's a rare, rare opportunity for Bisping, but not as rare as beating me," Rockhold said. "I think Yoel pretty much goes in there, it may take a little while, but eventually he's going to get to Bisping.
"Bisping is a top individual and he's a more technical striker and Yoel is pretty raw, but I think the takedown opportunities will allow him to start throwing Bisping around and let him change the pace of the fight."