Luke Rockhold Granted UFC Release, Ends Short-Lived Retirement

Luke Rockhold has retracted the retirement statement he made after his fight at UFC 278 this past August.

In an interview on “The MMA Hour,” the former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion revealed that he has now become a free agent and is ready to resume his combat sports career. Rockhold then went on to say that he still had multiple fights left on his UFC contract, but due to his good relationship with the chief business officer Hunter Campbell, he was able to be released from the deal.

“Me and Dana [White] have never been on the same page, and we’ve had issues, but I’ve been through a lot of injuries and other things,” Rockhold said. “I requested a release and my freedom to be able to go and do something else, and I was granted that. Me and Hunter had a good relationship, and he permitted my wish to be able to box, to fight elsewhere. There are a lot of different options. You’ve seen what Nate Diaz and Francis [Ngannou] are doing. There are innovative companies coming up, and there’s a lot to be done.”

Although nothing is confirmed yet, Rockhold expressed interest in MMA promotions Bellator, PFL, and One Championship. He also mentioned boxing as a potential option.

“I need a new challenge,” Rockhold said. “You get burned out in the game when you’ve done so much, and you need new obstacles.”

Rockhold made his return from a three-year hiatus at UFC 278, where he lost a unanimous decision to Paulo Costa at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on August 20.

“I’ve gone through a lot in the past few years,” Rockhold said in his post-fight interview. “I can’t do this anymore. I gave it my all. I’m just too old.”

The 38-year-old Californian has lost four of his last five bouts, with three of those defeats coming via knockout or technical knockout. At his peak, Rockhold was one of the top middleweights in the sport, earning victories over the likes of Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Michael Bisping, Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo Souza. The longtime American Kickboxing Academy standout believes that the new start will be invigorating for him.

“I feel like I’m just getting better,” he said. “I feel like I’m finding my tempo, and it feels good.”


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