Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold says he is tired of Strikeforce highlights. The Santa Cruz, California surfer says he wants to make some UFC highlights.
“This is obviously a big fight,” Rockhold MMA Fight Corner. “This is my second UFC fight. My debut didn’t go as planned. I’m tired of my Strikeforce highlights. I want to make some UFC highlights and be on the right side of it.”
Rockhold, 10-2, is one of the sport’s rising star. In Strikeforce, he beat Jacare Souza and Tim Kennedy and was looking like one of the most dominant fighters in the sport. But his debut last year didn’t go as planned.
In a big upset, Rockhold was knocked out by Vitor Belfort in his UFC debut. The loss was Rockhold’s first since 2007.
Rockhold will fight Costa Philippou, 12-3, 1, at UFC Fight Night on January 15.
Rockhold said he appreciates being in the main event and wants to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m looking to perform and I’m taking it seriously,” Rockhold told MMA Fight Corner. “I know there’s a lot of eyes and the spotlight’s on me and I’m going to take advantage of this second opportunity and show them why they have so much faith in me. And I feel real good and I’m just focused on what I’ve got to do.”
Rockhold fights out of San Jose, California’s American Kickboxing Academy. A strong striker and wrestler, Rockhold was one of the few fighters to figure out the Jacare Souza puzzle, defeating the submission specialist to win the middleweight championship in Strikeforce.
Rockhold, 29, was talked about as a possible contender to Anderson Silva’s title, when he was in Strikeforce. Rockhold will need a big performance to get back into immediate title contention.