Luke Rockhold eyes Chris Weidman in UFC return: ‘He keeps running his mouth’ about rematch

Luke Rockhold is nearing a return to the cage and is willing to run things back with the former champion he once dethroned.

Earlier this week, Rockhold confirmed that he won’t be retiring after all and is aiming to fight before the end of 2020. Rockhold (16-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC), who hasn’t competed since July 2019, is currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff, which he expects to sideline him for another month.

Rockhold sees plenty of options for his comeback fight and wouldn’t mind rematching Chris Weidman, who he bounced out of the ranks of the unbeaten to win the middleweight title in 2015 at UFC 194.

“I’m looking at whoever’s available in the current climate of when I’m ready,” Rockhold told Submission Radio. “Chris Weidman seems to think he’s back in business. I beg to differ. So, you know, he’s always wanting to run it back, and I wouldn’t mind sending him back.”

The pair were scheduled for an immediate rematch at UFC 199, but Weidman was forced to pull out and replaced by Michael Bisping, who went on to score the upset knockout over Rockhold. The rematch between Rockhold and Weidman never materialized.

Since then, Rockhold and Weidman have faced multiple setbacks, including failed attempts at light heavyweight for the both of them.

But Weidman (15-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC) finally got back in the win column in his return to 185 pounds when he defeated Omari Akhmedov by unanimous decision last weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 32.

Rockhold, who’s also moving back down to middleweight for his next fight, was far from impressed with Weidman’s performance, calling it “pathetic.”

“Maybe he had weight issues or what,” Rockhold said. “I mean, it looked like a heavyweight fight. It looked like a low-level heavyweight fight. I don’t know. I didn’t like it.”

Rockhold’s finish of Weidman at UFC 194 was pretty definitive, but his incentive to rematch Weidman is purely to “shut him up.”

“I mean, what’s worse than beating up a guy and then he keeps running his mouth,” Rockhold said.

Despite losing three of his past four, the former UFC middleweight champ doesn’t see much ground to make up in his return. Rockhold is also targeting the top of the division, looking at the likes of Darren Till and Jack Hermansson as possible next opponents.

“There’s Darren Till, there’s the grappler, the Norwegian kid, he looks good. Hermansson looks tough,” Rockhold said. “I want somebody who means something and is a name, something meant to be. I left the division the No. 2 ranked middleweight in the world. So, they can say what they want because I’m unranked at the moment, but I can come back and reassert myself very quickly if I need to.”

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