Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is plotting his return to action for the first time since losing to Jan Blachowicz almost two years ago and thought that he had identified his next assignment — but he says Khamzat Chimaev wasn’t interested when the UFC presented him with two separate opportunities to fight him.
Chimaev announced himself on the MMA scene last summer with two wins in the span of 10 days on ‘Fight Island’, following that up several weeks later with a one-punch KO of veteran Gerald Meerschaert to make it three wins in 66 days — all while receiving just two strikes in the process.
Since then, Chimaev adopted an ‘I’ll fight anyone’ approach, saying that he wanted to dominate both the welterweight and middleweight divisions but after a Covid diagnosis late last year and the subsequent falling apart of a booking opposite Leon Edwards, it remains unclear when he will return. But by the looks of things, it won’t be against Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold is hoping to fighting by the end of the summer, he said. Wants a top-ranked 185er.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 23, 2021
Ariel Helwani revealed the news after discussions with Rockhold, in which the AKA fighter was quoted as saying, “All respect but I thought he would fight anyone.”
Furthermore, apparently Chimaev sees his future at 170-pounds exclusively.
The next move for both fighters remains unclear but which Chimaev’s absence from the cage now an extensive one, it seems that he might have to work his way back up the latter rather than taking on the top-ranked contender he claims he wants.