Luke Rockhold

Former Strikeforce and UFC champion Luke Rockhold had quite the story to tell during a recent appearance on Submission Radio.

Rockhold, who admits he is “warming up” to the idea of making a return to the UFC, was attacked while out walking his dog.

Check out the details to that story and more in the interview below:

On being attacked by a crazy person on Santa Monica Boulevard trying to spit on him and possibly infect him with Covid-19

“I was just going for a casual stroll with my dog, I was looking for some food and I was walking around a couple of miles away from the house. I went on to Santa Monica Boulevard and, you know, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted, I was seeing what restaurants were open, and I walked around the corner on Santa Monica Boulevard and there a couple of sketchy characters.

“So, there was this guy and was kind of paying attention to this kid. I walked by him with the dog, and then I see this girl, like maybe thirty-ish. She was on the bus stop bench, and she looked bad. Like, homeless, something along those lines.

“And she looked like, probably meth or something and just nasty, nasty look, a lot of crap all over her [face], maybe some blood or something I saw. She was super out of it. [She] glanced up at me like real quick, looked down. I didn’t think anything of it, and I just kind of just stayed on my path on the edge on the sidewalk and I started walking. As I got closer, she popped up out of nowhere and ran at me like some Zombie or something. It was wild.

“It was like the last thing I expected. I was just walking and minding my own business with my dog, and this chick just runs at me within 15 feet or something. She just jumped and started to run at me like ‘arghhh’ and she started hocking a loogie like she was gonna spit on me. Like, it was like a full just like trying to scare me or infect me kind of thing.

“I don’t know what she was on, but it didn’t look like anything I want to be around. And it happened so quick, so instinctually. The thing just ran at me and was hocking this loogie, and I was like, what the fuck? And I didn’t know what to do. And as it got close to me I just reared up with just a vicious front kick and just launched that thing in the air and just like instinctually.

“And the thing just went up, landed on the ground and literally like started quivering like a vampire frying in the sun or something. I was in awe of the situation. The thing was just quivering on the ground. I was like, what the hell just happened? I wanted to protect myself and document it somehow and I didn’t have my phone with me. The one time I left my phone at the house to charge. It was wild. I just walked away. It was like something out of a movie. Like, no joke. I think like… it was weird.”

“I was trying to stay away and out of trouble, and trouble found me somehow.”

“Honestly, it happened so quick, I didn’t even think of anything. I thought she wasn’t even paying attention, I thought she was pretty out of it on drugs or something. She just like glanced up for a second, maybe like 25 feet away. But when I got near her, maybe like 15 feet, she just got up and ran at me.

“It was funny because you could see her getting the spit ready. She must have had like dry mouth or something, cause I watched that, like, I caught her like mid projection, straight down the middle, this nasty kick right out of nowhere.”

“I didn’t have time to think about it but, I watched the spit hang in the air and like pretty much fall right on top of her. And I was like, how did I come out of this clean and not get touched? It was unbelievable. And I was just like, checked myself, nothing touched me, nothing got on me, and I was like, I’m out of here.”

On getting the itch to fight again

“Last couple of fights haven’t really obviously sat well with me. I think I’ve made mistakes along the way and I just gotta get everything right if I’m gonna do it again. I don’t like the way we’ve… I’d like to finish it differently for sure. I gotta get my weight right, I gotta figure out which realm I want to go at.

“Like, it’s been too much going down, and it didn’t calibrate and stylize right going up, and it’s about picking and really finding a comfortable position where I’m at in life and my weight and my body, I gotta get my diet, everything’s gotta be right, gotta get dialed in and focused and have to have a clear head too for sure. There’s a lot of distractions out there these days and things come into play, and you just gotta fucken, I gotta find myself, focus myself and go in there and execute like I know I can with a clear head.”

“I never shut it out because I knew it might come back. I do love to fight. I’ve been fighting for 15 years, so it’s been a long stretch of fighting, and sometimes you get distracted and burn out and you’re kind of forcing it, and I think the time away has really helped, helped me just relax.

“And then you start to want it a little bit more. So, I’m not saying it’s there yet, but it’s warming up, it’s warming up. It’s about getting my body healthy too, it’s a lot of little things. Like, that leg injury was a nightmare, and trying to bandage it up and train through it and train around it all training camp. I think it’s gotten to a point where it just took so much time to really heal and get the layers of tissue and all the derm to heal underneath that thing.

“It was such a big fuck up that it’s a lot, it’s in your head and it just changed a lot of the way I would fight. And I had other issues with my body. So, I’m just time away and healing up in all and every way.”

“I never put areas on what I do, and that’s why I never committed to retirement. It’s the fact that I do love fighting, it’s like nothing else, stepping in there and doing your thing. It’s just being focused and really wanting it, not just doing it to do it. I do like it. I gotta pick a direction of where I wanna go – maybe a catchweight fight. You never know. Or pick the right opponent. Somebody who’s gonna get me excited and up to fight.”

“Like, yeah, I have done a lot. I’m not just gonna fight a bunch of chumps that are not gonna do nothing for me. I want to be excited about it and I want it to mean something. So, there’s some things. Gotta put the puzzle pieces together and gotta fucken figure out this direction… if it’s to be.”

On Jimi Manuwa wanting to come back and fight Luke

“I didn’t see it, and what does Jimi Manuwa do for me? What has Jimi Manuwa done? That’s not very exciting.”

On recovering for shoulder surgery

“I gotta get healthy, I gotta get right. I just had shoulder surgery, you can see. So, I’m working through that. There ain’t nothing in the near timeframe that’s gonna happen. So, I gotta heal, I gotta move forward and I gotta figure out where I want to go and what I want to do.”

On Anthony Smith and there being unfinished business with him

“I never really understood this guy and, you know, it’s funny to see how much I got to him, and I’m always a man to back up what I say. So, you never know.”

“I put my ass on the line anywhere at any time, so we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”

On making the decision between middleweight and light heavyweight, and never really recovering from his weight cut in Australia for UFC 221

“My body definitely feels better over here in California. It’s a different adjustment, lifestyle and the climate and everything, it definitely does different things to your body. I’ve worked hard to kind of build up a bigger frame and work more muscle into play, and it kind of change my style a little bit with going to 205, and I’d definitely have to rethink that if I stay up there.

“It is more comfortable. I wouldn’t try to be so big, and I wouldn’t try to force the issue with bigger guys. And so, it’s a thought. 185 is still a thought. I feel good lighter. I’m more mobile, but that weight cut is… I’ve never felt so drained my last time out making 185. I never recovered from that weight cut. I mean, everything comes to play too; coming to Australia. So, you know, you’re fighting in the morning, you’re weighing in in the morning, delaying the weigh-ins, you have to hold weight till the public weigh-ins and everything, and you fight in the morning and you’re limiting yourself about another 10 hours of recovery time or whatever it was. So, a lot factors that goes into that one when I think through. I just gotta get healthy and I gotta get in shape and I’m just gotta let my body go where it needs to go. And if I’m in the gym and I want it and my body is gonna tell me which way I’m gonna go, that’s it.”

On if he’d rather fight Weidman or Anderson

“I’m not huge on retracing my footsteps, let’s say that. You know, sometimes it’s exciting to do that – I mean, rarely it is – but I like to pave a new path everywhere I go for the most part, and that should answer your question.”

On what interests him about fighting Anderson at this point in his career

“I remember back in the day he had mentioned it, and the UFC wasn’t ready to put it together. And then I took that loss to Vitor, so that got delayed and Weidman beat me to the punch. And then I got into a position where I called him and he didn’t want it. So, maybe the time’s right. You never know. We will see. Like I said, I gotta do me first.”

On Robert Whittaker

“Yeah, it’s a tough fight that Israel fight. I actually never really saw the original when it first aired. I watched it just recently. Israel’s – this Covid thing is making me track back – no, I watched it just the other week and Israel is so like, he’s… everyone talks about how precise he is. He’s different. He’s so loopy, he’s so off balance and still landing these clean shots. He loops and twists and turns so well and he’s so rangy, and it would be a tough fight for Whittaker to come back to.”

“Fighting is fucken… people want to talk shit from afar and don’t understand what fighting is, but getting to the top of the world and fighting those wars that Whittaker put in and having the family, I couldn’t really imagine what that does to you. You don’t want to do that forever, and you have your kids.

“And that’s why I never really introduced a family to this lifestyle, because it’s a lot to handle, and I see a lot of people and I don’t understand how they manage it. But I don’t know, we’ll see. We’ll see where he’s at. The kid has done so much in the sport and I’ve always been a fan of the way he fought, those fights with Yoel. And he fought Yoel like nobody else ever has. I mean, you see Costa put on a good fight with him, but that was after two beatdowns from Robert. And we’ll see what comes out of it, but he’s done his thing for sure.”

“I think it’s just finding the hunger. Once you get to the top of the world – it’s like, becoming Strikeforce champion. I was Strikeforce champion, and then it was all the questions of who was the best? And then it was like, fuck you, I know I can beat these guys, but of course you see what we did as Strikeforce, we came in and ran through the whole division, everybody in the UFC in every division. It’s like, you got there, you done that, what more do you want? It’s not for anybody to keep following that path. So, I feel like there was tremendous weight on my shoulders and that’s where I can see where Whittaker could, you know, he had proven that, he defended that and he’d done it a few times and proved himself. So, finding that motivation and that hunger to keep going on with that same passion, I think that’s the biggest key. ”

How Tony versus Khabib would have played out if the fight happened a few weeks ago

“The problem is, these guys at lightweight, they just don’t know what it’s like when Khabib gets a hold of them. And I’ve been with most top talents I’ve seen at lightweight and welterweight and I’ve grappled with them, and Khabib is more than anything that any lightweight has ever felt, and most of all welterweights. So, I don’t care who you are, how slippery you are, even if you’re Tony Ferguson and you’re slippery, you’re not gonna feel the same thing when Khabib gets a hold of you. It’s gonna slow you down. You’d have to get him with something wild, something early. Because the longer that thing went, the more times Khabib got a hold of him, it just, it wouldn’t go well for him.”

On who presents the bigger challenge to Khabib out of Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje

“I think they both present their problems. I think they both have to kind of get wild and get crazy early on, and land something big. Otherwise they both go down. That’s how I see it.”

On Michael Bisping offering a truce and sharing a beer with Luke

“Sometimes you gotta let things go, and I can’t say I would be opposed. The past is the past and the story has been told and it’s time to move forward.”

“You gotta let it go. You gotta let it go, you gotta move on. Life is life and the story was told, and there’s more to tell. Cheers. Cheers to that.”

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