Newly appointed undisputed middleweight titleholder Robert Whittaker will squares off with Luke Rockhold in the main event of February 10’s UFC 221 from Perth, Australia.
Rockhold, who won the UFC middleweight title in Dec. 2015 but lost his first defense, to Michael Bisping at UFC 199, sparking a year-and-a-half of outright chaos when Bisping refused to fight any top contender and lost the belt to returning welterweight king GSP last month.didn’t hold back in his response to Gastelum’s claims.
George St-Pierre vacated the middleweight title just six days ago, Rockhold, though, is happy to see ‘stability’ within the division after limited title action since he lost the belt in Dec. 2015. That ‘instability’ recently saw Bisping suffer a violent knockout to Gastelum in Shanghai just three weeks after losing the title to GSP at UFC 217, where he went unconscious rather than tap out.
Gastelum wasn’t impressed with Rockhold’s return and feels the former champion isn’t deserving of a title shot.
Recently speaking to Submission Radio via MMA Fighting, didn’t hold back in his response to Gastelum’s claims and said he was the more deserving fighter.
“I know I’ve proven myself,” Rockhold said. “I’ve accomplished things in this sport, whereas little m**gets like Kelvin Gastelum haven’t. I’ve destroyed Chris Weidman, which he got destroyed by Weidman, so it’s like ehh [shrugs].
“This kid hasn’t beaten really anybody and done anything in this sport, and for him to run his mouth, it’s pretty funny. It’s laughable. He’ll find out real if he continues his efforts at 185. I’d slap that kid down real quick. Real quick.”
Rockhold is content with fighting for the title and heaped praise upon new champion Robert Whittaker, calling him a ‘true champion’ and saying how he was pleased the middleweight division would not be held up with him at the summit.
“Whittaker’s been the champ for a long time, so he’s the goal, of course. The best is always the goal, being on top is the goal and Whittaker’s proved himself for a long time now. He’s been on top, he’s beaten all the top guys, he’s the man. . .
“I wanna fight Whittaker, I want to fight the best. It would’ve been – I’m a realist, and I know that neither [Georges St-Pierre nor Michael Bisping], win or lose, would fight any of us. They’re both gonna try and run off, ride off into the sunset and not fight the fight. I respect Whittaker for stepping up and fighting me. I know he had options to take a lesser opponent, the fans wanted this and this is what it is. He’s a true champion, he’s gonna fight the No. 1 contenders.”
UFC 221 features Whittaker vs. Rockhold as the headlining championship bout and takes place on February 11th at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.
Who do you think will come out on top at UFC 221?