In one of the most impressive performances in recent championship history, Luke Rockhold TKO’d Chris Weidman at UFC 194 on Dec. 12 to become the middleweight champion. It was a gratifying win for Rockhold, who spent most of his career in Strikeforce before transitioning to UFC in 2013.
Many people discredited Rockhold’s accomplishments when he was in Strikeforce. Well, they can do that no longer.
“It feels so good,” Rockhold said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “That was so much crap for so long. People were trying to beat down my accomplishments while I was in there. It feels good to shove (it) down their throats, no doubt.”
Rockhold, 31, certainly didn’t leave any doubt in this one, controlling the match from the outset.
“I thought I was gaining momentum at the end of the first, I thought I was dominating the second, and I just had to pick my spots in the third,” he said. “I was really starting to get fatigued. Man, the infection and the antibiotics I had in my system – it’s hard to explain, but it’s so taxing on your body.”
Rockhold was apparently battled a staph infection for two weeks prior to the match.
“It takes so much out of you,” he said. “It was a big limiting factor in my output in the fight, and I had to completely change my game plan. I wouldn’t say completely, but I just had to really save my energy and I couldn’t put out what I needed to, what I wanted to.”
It didn’t matter. Rockhold had his way with Weidman anyway. In fact, it’s a mystery to many that the fight lasted as long as it did, as Weidman was getting pummeled in the third round.
Why did referee Herb Dean let the fight go that long? Was that just a matter of giving the champion every opportunity to stay in the fight?
“They didn’t say anything to me, but one could assume that was the situation – letting the champ go out on the shield and letting it get to that point,” Rockhold said. “But for them to stop the fight in the fourth the way they did, they didn’t even really let me get into it because there was so much controversy at the end of the third that he stopped it so quickly in the fourth. I think that stoppage in the fourth just proves he should have stopped it in the third.”