Rockhold (16-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has been at the top of the ladder for most of his MMA career, winning both the Strikeforce and UFC middleweight titles, and holds victories against Ronaldo Souza, Michael Bisping, Lyoto Machida and Chris Weidman.
But one man he hasn’t had a chance to compete against is one of the greatest fighters of all time, former UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva. It’s a fight Rockhold said he’s almost paid off – if he won his UFC debut.
“I wish I had a chance to fight Anderson,” said Rockhold on the “Major Waves Podcast. “Especially then, I think I would have beaten him. I don’t know – I think there are just promotional reasons. They did not see him very well at that time. If I had beaten Vitor (Belfort), Anderson and I would have fought right away, right away. But then I had to reprimand myself in the ranks after this defeat. “
After winning the UFC middleweight title in 2015, after giving Weidman his first loss, Rockhold’s career did not go as planned.
He was to replay Weidman, but a last-minute injury forced him out, and he was replaced by a familiar enemy in Bisping. Rockhold was a big favorite in the title fight, since he finished Bisping in 2014 and Bisping took the fight on short notice.
Instead, he was home to one of the biggest upheavals in UFC title history when Bisping knocked him out with a knockout in the first round to win the title.
While Rockhold would have loved to settle his rivalry with Bisping in a trilogy battle, he knows it’s highly unlikely given that Bisping has been retired since 2018.
“I think I just came to the conclusion where I’m happy with this,” said Rockhold. “Obviously there are easy fights where I would like them and I knew I could have written this story differently – like my second fight with Bisping. But I will not understand that. I am realistic. “
Rockhold has not definitively said that he has finished fighting, but he is currently enjoying his free time.
“I’m on leave,” said Rockhold. “I’m just doing my kind of thing right now – organizing life, putting things together. It’s good to be back on the west coast. I was training in Florida and that’s right – Florida is tough. It’s hot, it’s humid – it’s a different way of life. “