Luke Rockhold’s retirement didn’t last long.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion called it a career after his unanimous decision loss to Paulo Costa in Aug. 2022 at UFC 278 (watch highlights). As all retirements in mixed martial arts (MMA) never last, Rockhold’s didn’t either as he revealed he was granted his release from the promotion per his request.
“Your man’s a free agent,” Rockhold told The MMA Hour. “Free and clear, and I’m ready and re-inspired to go out there and do something new.
“I need a new setting,” he added. “I need a new challenge. … You get burned out in the game when you’ve done so much, and you need new obstacles.”
Rockhold, 38, has been relatively inactive since he ruled over his weight class in early 2016. Injuries and outside opportunities have led to Rockhold only competing five times (1-4) after dethroning Chris Weidman at UFC 194.
While he admits a UFC return is possible, it’s not Rockhold’s most enticing option. The former Strikeforce champion likes the idea of trying to become a three-time champion in major MMA promotions, highlighting Bellator, Professional Fighters League (PFL), and ONE Championship. Then, of course, there are the “less serious” options outside of the cage.
“The door is always open, but I want to go and f—k some people up,” Rockhold said. “I want to go and change and correct this bulls—t that’s going on out there and I think there’s other companies, of course. There’s PFL. [Chief Executive Officer] Peter Murray, I think he’s a f—king smart, sharp dude. They’re doing some cool things where the best fight the best. People aren’t jumping each other.
“This jumping, all this bulls—t, let’s keep the bulls—t the bulls—t,” he continued. “If you want to go bulls—t, we can go box and beat up these bulls—t f—king YouTubers, too. I think there’s opportunities there. I’m just finding my rhythm in the boxing and my legs can take a little break every once in a while. I’d like to put some hands on some people and I’d like to invest in some other fights.”