Verbal agreements are believed to be in place to have Luke Rockhold return to action against Sean Strickland at UFC 268 on November 6th in New York City.
The former middleweight champion hasn’t fought in the Octagon for two years after suffering a KO loss against Yoel Romero in 2018 and then another knockout defeat at the hands of Jan Blachowicz during a one-off move up to light-heavyweight in 2019.
For a time Rockhold appeared happy to remain on the sidelines, but in recent months he had been indicating that he was ready to return, but had been holding out for a big fight.
With that in mind, Rockhold admitted earlier this week that he’d actually turned down a fight with Strickland recently, but is now on-board after watching his future opponent defeat Uriah Hall at the weekend.
“They offered me Sean actually a while back, a while back,” Rockhold told mmafighting.com. “And I just wasn’t interested cause he’s just a fucking nobody. It wasn’t the fight I wanted. It didn’t make any sense, no one knew of him, and I didn’t give two fucks about him. And now it’s like Dana’s trying to piss me off with it.
“And now he’s obviously been out there, he beat Uriah Hall, he looked decent and he took a ranking. So, there’s something to work with I guess now
Strickland has now won five fights in a row to reach this point in his career, defeating the likes of Brendan Allen and Krzysztof Jotko along with Hall to claim the No.8 spot on the 185lb ladder.
Strickland has also started to grab some headlines for his controversial and outspoken views, although his admission that he’d actually enjoy killing a man in the Octagon did not sit well with Rockhold.
“Did that guy really just say that?” Rockhold said of Strickland’s post-fight remarks. “And then like my manager told me that that’s his thing, that he says that every time. I’m like, what a f*cking idiot.”
If officially confirmed, Rockhold vs. Strickland will join a UFC 268 card that’s set to be headlined by a welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington at Madison Square Garden.