Luke Rockhold's UFC future is not exactly looking bright at the moment. The former middleweight champion has not competed since his shocking loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 last year, and joined the growing voices of the discontented (see: Silva, A and Iaquinta, A) during an appearance on The MMA Hour yesterday, trashing the state of the UFC's middleweight division and refusing to compete for the promotion unless he received an interim title shot (or moved up in weight).
But not too long ago, Rockhold was just an up-and-coming scrapper looking to showcase his skills on any possible platform. The year was 2010, and Rockhold, having secured four out of his six victories under the Strikeforce banner by submission, decided to test his skills at the annual Grappler's Quest challenge.
Paired off with Rustam Chsiev, a Sambo expert and future ADCC bronze medalist, Rockhold was given all he could handle and more. Though he would ultimately lose the bout on points, Rockhold put up one hell of a valiant effort, at one point countering a fireman's carry with a crucifix into an armbar/triangle attempt (0:45 of the video).
Just one year later, Rockhold would dominate BJJ specialist Ronaldo Souza to become the Strikeforce middleweight champion, which eh would defend against Keith Jardine and Tin Kennedy before being brought over to the UFC when the promotion was absoarbed. Impressive submission wins over Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping, and Lyoto Machida would follow before he would receive his shot at Chris Weidman, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nowadays, Rockhold is calling for a middleweight strike in protest of the booking of Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre.
No doubt fueled by the news that GSP wouldn't be ready to fight until October, Rockhold is sure to receive support from fellow fed-up contenders like Yoel Romero and Anderson Silva, but will he make any headway, or will the UFC continue to put its head in the sand and act like everything is working out just fine? It's hard to say for sure, but it's definitely the latter.