Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is gearing up for a comeback after a two-year hiatus later this year, and in the mean time he’s been talking up his chances of beating current divisional kingpin Israel Adesanya.
“I know what Israel’s capable of,” Rockhold told ESPN. “I’ve been studying Israel for a long time. I appreciate his style, but I think he’s beatable in so many ways. I don’t think many guys can fight him from the outside like I can.
“If I just stay relaxed and stay on the outside, it’s a game that I can play. And then if we go into the takedowns, I’ll do it a lot better than Jan did. I’ll tell you that.”
At this stage in his career Rockhold will need to back up his words with action though if he wants to step into the Octagon opposite Adesanya as he lost three of his last four fights before bowing out of the sport for the past couple of years.
Even more troubling is the nature of those losses – with all three coming by KO, starting with his title loss to Michael Bisping all the way back in 2016, then being knocked out by Yoel Romero and finally Jan Blachowicz in his short-lived attempt to break into the light-heavyweight ranks in 2019.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the 36-year-old does have a high level skill-set, but only time will tell whether he still has what it takes to beat the best the 185lb division has to offer at this stage in his career.