The former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight champion is one of the most talented MMA fighters the MMA community has had the pleasure of witnessing compete. Although he may come across as arrogant, most wouldn’t call him out on it, as he is very capable and experienced at silencing those in front of him.

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The fighting game is definitely brutal – the highs are high and the lows are definitely low. Luke Rockhold succumbed to some brutal losses, but those shouldn’t overshadow the stellar performances the former champion put up against top fighters in front of him.

ten Worst: Luke Rockhold vs. Nick Rodriguez

After teasing the idea of ​​retirement, Rockhold just couldn’t shake the competition bug. A grappling match against Nick Rodriguez sparked the interest of Rockhold – a formidable opponent who was part of the popular Danaher Death Squad.

It wasn’t the best showing for either contestant, as they both seemed far too hesitant to commit to an entry. This match was mostly played on the feet, where either athlete alternated pushing each other out of bounds.

9 Best: Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida

Lyoto Machida in the middle of the fight

In a knockout match to see who would challenge then-champion Chris Weidman for the middleweight belt, Machida and Rockhold locked horns at UFC on Fox 15. That performance not only earned Rockhold a chance for the title, but she showed how well surrounded he is.

The fight was pretty neutral on the feet. Machida was landing occasionally, but nothing significant. As soon as the Californian was able to secure the No. 1 spot, he showed a side of his name that he rarely got to display in the UFC. The total dominance hurt Machida incredibly in the second round, where he would lose the fight via submission.


8 Worst: Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel RomeroUSA_Yoel-Romero

After a rebound win en route to the middleweight title, Rockhold was named against a very dangerous Yoel Romero. Romero brought great wrestling and explosive strikes to his fights.

Rockhold was the only one of the two fighters to gain weight, which was an unfortunate circumstance before this fight. As the fight continued, neither athlete found the success they sought. As the fight was about to reach its midpoint, Romero landed a shot that knocked Rockhold out.

7 Best: Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch

Luke Rockhold
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

In what was pretty much a flawless win that could be found at the UFC level, Rockhold was 2-3 lengths ahead of his opponent for the short duration of the fight.

A telegraphed withdrawal gave Rockhold a winning run. A very dangerous inverted triangle position accentuated by a kimura grip got Boetsch in all sorts of trouble. Finally, the kimura was over and Rockhold walked away without breaking a sweat.

6 Worst: Luke Rockhold vs. Vitor Belfort

UFC on FX 8 Vitor Belfort
Jason da Silva – USA TODAY Sports

Luke Rockhold entered the UFC and was immediately thrown to the wolves. While this was to be expected, as Rockhold’s previous fight was him defending his Strikeforce title, Belfort’s fight still had a lot to do for his debut.

Although the legitimacy of this win is questionable from the Brazilian due to testosterone replacement therapy and a previous failed drug test, Rockhold still has an official loss against Belfort. A spinning wheel kick caught Rockhold on his chin and it ruined the former Strikeforce champion’s debut.

5 Best: Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping 1

Fixed Rockhold Bisping

This fight often goes unnoticed when the MMA community decides to hit Rockhold. En route to champion status, Rockhold grew an impressive beard and fought Michael Bisping for the first time.

A fairly competitive first round was exciting for the fans to watch. The second round, however, didn’t last long and was the furthest from the competition. A series of kicks to the head knocked Bisping down. Rockhold tracked his opponent to the ground and won via a one-arm mounted guillotine choke.

4 Worst: Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping 2

Jake Roth – USA TODAY Sports

A brave Michael Bisping took the opportunity to step in on short notice to take on Rockhold for the middleweight title after Chris Weidman retired. This fight made sense, because it was a rematch and Bisping was on a three-fight winning streak.

RELATED: The Story Behind Michael Bisping’s Eye, Explained

Perhaps complacent, Rockhold fought without caring about his enemy’s punching ability. It would cause him to lose his belt. As Rockhold held his hands low, Bisping landed a punch over his opponent’s shoulder and claimed the knockout victory in what remains one of the biggest upsets in the history of the UFC.

3 Best: Luke Rockhold vs. Ronaldo Souza

Ronaldo Jacare Souza celebrates victory

Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza is a terrifying outing for everyone. An impressive 6-fight winning streak propelled Rockhold into title contention. With Souza riding a 4-fight winning streak himself, this was one of the most anticipated fights in Strikeforce history.

In what was an all-out war, Rockhold showed flashy techniques and a chin of granite. After surviving the Brazilian’s best shots and his own bombs, Rockhold clinched the title and put on a great performance against the highest level of competition he had faced at the time.

2 Worst: Luke Rockhold vs. Jan Blachowicz

Luke Rockhold knocked out
Stephen R. Sylvania – USA TODAY Sports

Rockhold didn’t know what he was getting into going from middleweight to light heavyweight. Jan Blachowicz began his run to championship status by researching Rockhold.

The patent “Polish power” was on full display in this fight. A headbutt knocked out Rockhold late in the first round. Rockhold looked desperate to take the fight to the ground. When a grappling streak broke out, Blachowicz landed the left hook of his life and floored Luke Rockhold.

1 Best: Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman

Luke Rockhold rides on Chris Weidmam
Gary A. Vasquez – USA Today Sports

The Strikeforce middleweight title wasn’t enough; Rockhold wanted the gold an undefeated Chris Weidman claimed. Since his first UFC loss to Vitor Belfort, Rockhold has completed four straight fights.

When he fought the defending champion, Weidman, Rockhold made the fight his own. Keeping his opponent within kickboxing range, Rockhold landed kick after kick. In a moment of redemption, Rockhold took down Weidman after trying the same technique that cost Rockhold his UFC debut. Ground and pound ensued and should have stopped the fight, but the referee allowed Weidman to see round four. The TKO win was quickly scored in the fourth and Rockhold was the new UFC middleweight champion.

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