Luke Rockhold

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Luke Rockhold
LR AKA.jpg
Rockhold in 2016
Born (1984-10-17) October 17, 1984 (age 33)
Santa Cruz, California, United States
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
Division Middleweight
Light Heavyweight
Reach 77 in (196 cm)[1]
Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Judo
Fighting out of San Jose, California, United States
Team American Kickboxing Academy
Hard Knocks 365
Rank Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[2] under Leandro Vieira[3] and Dave Camarillo[citation needed]
Years active 2007–present (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
Total 20
Wins 16
By knockout 6
By submission 8
By decision 2
Losses 4
By knockout 4
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Luke Rockhold
Medal record
Representing  United States
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 Long Beach      -91.5 kg (No-Gi)
Gold medal – first place 2007 Long Beach      -94.30 kg
Pan American Championship
Silver medal – second place 2006 Long Beach      -88.3 kg

Luke Skylar Rockhold[4] (born October 17, 1984) is an American mixed martial artist competing in the UFC, where he is the former UFC Middleweight Champion.[5] He won the title on December 12, 2015 by defeating prior champion, the undefeated Chris Weidman via 4th-round TKO. A two-time world champion, Rockhold also won the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship by defeating Ronaldo Souza on September 10, 2011 via unanimous decision. Rockhold defended the title twice and was the last man to hold the belt, before Strikeforce was officially absorbed by the UFC. [6][7][8] Rockhold is also an avid surfer, skateboarder,[9] and a professional model having modeled at the New York Fashion Week and as the new face of Ralph Lauren's "Polo Blue" fragrance.[10] As of July 26, 2018, he is #2 in the official UFC middleweight rankings.[11]

Early life[edit]

Rockhold was born in the Bay Area city of Santa Cruz, California and hails from an athletic family. Growing up, Luke and his older brother, pro-surfer Matt Rockhold, surfed their local breaks together. His father, was a professional basketball player in Europe[12] and his mother was an avid tennis player. Luke started training in judo when he was 6 years old but quit upon turning ten.[13] When he entered the seventh grade, he joined his school's wrestling team and stuck with the sport all through Soquel High School[14] while taking jiu-jitsu classes.

Rockhold tried wrestling for a local community college but he felt the sport wasn't for him and instead took jiu-jitsu on full-time.[15] After winning a few BJJ tournaments, he decided to enter mixed martial arts. In 2006, a friend invited Rockhold to train at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California.[15] His raw talent and kicking displays immediately caught the eye of AKA head coach Javier Mendez, who touted Rockhold as a potential future champion.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In July 2007, Rockhold made his professional debut against Mike Martinez for the Melee on the Mountain promotion. Rockhold dominated the fight and won via armbar submission midway through the first round. He had his second fight for the promotion in November 2007. It was not as successful as the first as Rockhold was defeated by Tony Rubalcava via TKO.


Up and coming promotion, Strikeforce called and offered Rockhold a fight on their Strikeforce: Young Guns II card. Rockhold looked impressive in his debut, forcing his opponent to submit from punches. Impressed with his performance, Strikeforce decided to give him another fight. The second fight took place on the Strikeforce: Destruction card, where Rockhold won via submission. At Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz, Rockhold won his third consecutive fight. Rockhold was given a step up in competition when he fought Cory Devela at Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg. Even though he was the underdog going into the fight, he won that fight in just 30 seconds with his third rear-naked choke submission in a row.

At Strikeforce Challengers: Gurgel vs. Evangelista, Rockhold defeated The Ultimate Fighter 7 contestant, Jesse Taylor. The fight improved his record to 5–0 under the Strikeforce banner. In February 2010, Rockhold defeated another Ultimate Fighter 7 finalist, Paul Bradley, and won via TKO (knees to the body). The fight took place at Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi in San Jose, California. With the win, Rockhold hoped to fight against tougher and well-known fighters.[16] In addition to the win, Rockhold was announced as a playable character for the EA Sports MMA video game.[17] Rockhold was scheduled to fight Matt Lindland at Strikeforce: San Jose but pulled out a few weeks before the fight due to a shoulder injury.[18] Rockhold was expected to face former title contender, Tim Kennedy, at Strikeforce 32 [19] however, due to unknown reasons, Rockhold was removed from the bout.

Winning the middleweight title[edit]

After more than a year and a half hiatus from fighting due to injuries, Rockhold stepped into the cage to fight Strikeforce Middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza on September 10, 2011.[20] He won the fight via unanimous decision to become the new Strikeforce Middleweight champion.[21] For his first title defense, Rockhold faced Keith Jardine at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine on January 7, 2012.[22] Rockhold won the fight via TKO in the first round.

In his second title defense, Rockhold faced Tim Kennedy in the main event of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy on July 14, 2012. During the weigh-ins for the bout on July 13, Rockhold came in a half-pound overweight. Rockhold cut the extra weight in the allotted two-hour limit. He successfully defended his title for a second time, winning the fight via unanimous decision.

For his third title defense, Rockhold was expected to face challenger Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir on November 3, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[23] However, Rockhold was forced to withdraw from the show due to injury and the event was later cancelled.[24] The fight was rumored to be rescheduled on January 12, 2013.[25] however, Rockhold never agreed upon the bout citing a lingering shoulder injury.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

In January 2013, the Strikeforce organization was closed by its parent company Zuffa. A list of fighters scheduled to be brought over to the Ultimate Fighting Championship was released in mid-January and Rockhold was one of the fighters listed.[26]

Rockhold faced perennial multi-divisional contender Vitor Belfort on May 18, 2013 in the main event at UFC on FX 8.[27] He lost the fight via knockout in the first round, after being caught with a spinning heel kick to the face.[28]

Rockhold was expected to face Tim Boetsch on October 19, 2013 at UFC 166.[29] However, Rockhold was forced out of the bout citing a knee injury and was replaced by C.B. Dollaway.[30] Rockhold faced Costas Philippou on January 15, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 35.[31] He won via TKO in the first round after dropping Philippou with a kick to the body.[32] The performance also earned Rockhold a $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.[33] Rockhold eventually faced Tim Boetsch on April 26, 2014 at UFC 172.[34] He won the fight via submission in the first round.[35]

Rockhold faced Michael Bisping on November 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 55.[36] He won the fight in the second round after dropping Bisping with a head kick and then applying a guillotine choke submission.[37] The win earned Rockhold his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[38]

On April 18, 2015, Rockhold faced former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida at UFC on Fox 15.[39] Rockhold defeated Machida in a one-sided fight via submission in the second round.[40] Rockhold also earned his second consecutive Performance of the Night bonus award.[41]

Winning the UFC middleweight title[edit]

"It’s a bad fight for Chris, stylistically. Luke is really hard to take down, and when you get him down his Jiu Jitsu is amazing. It’s one of the best and underrated offensive Jiu Jitsu games in MMA. [Luke] has the range, he has the height, he has the size, he has the power.."

Tim Kennedy discussing Weidman-Rockhold fight [42]

Rockhold next faced Chris Weidman for the UFC Middleweight Championship on December 12, 2015 at UFC 194.[43] In the third round, after a competitive first two rounds, Rockhold capitalised on a missed Weidman wheel kick by taking him down into the back mount and passed to full mount where he delivered heavy ground and pound to the champion. Weidman was able to make it to the end of the round but had sustained heavy cuts and damage from Rockhold's ground and pound. In the fourth round, Rockhold kept pressing with punches and secured a successful take-down and after passing into full mount, delivered more ground and pound to win the fight via TKO in the fourth round and became the 7th middleweight champion in UFC history,[44] thereby ending Weidman's undefeated reign in the UFC. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.[45] In the post-fight interview, Rockhold illuminated his struggles prior to the fight battling a staph infection and being on antibiotics which made him exhausted during the later rounds of the fight, but nevertheless he was able to come out victorious.[46] Being a Santa Cruz native and becoming the UFC Middleweight Champion, his hometown Santa Cruz, California, proclaimed December 18, as Luke Rockhold Day crediting his victory and achievements.[47]

Post Championship[edit]

A rematch with Weidman was scheduled to take place on June 4, 2016 at UFC 199.[48] However, Weidman pulled out of the fight on May 17 with an undisclosed injury and was replaced by Michael Bisping.[49][50] His title match against Bisping ended in the first round when Rockhold was dropped with a left hook and finished with a flurry of punches against the cage.[51] This result was considered by many in MMA media as one of the biggest upsets in the UFC title fight history, Bisping being a huge underdog because he took the fight in only 10 days and had been submitted by Rockhold 18 months earlier.

Rockhold was expected to face Ronaldo Souza in a rematch on November 27, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 101.[52] However the pairing was cancelled on 1 November after Rockhold was ruled out of the contest after sustaining an undisclosed injury. As a result, Souza was also removed from the card.[53]

Rockhold faced former two-time WSOF champion David Branch on September 16, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 116 after being away from the sport for almost 15 months due to injuries.[54] He won the fight by forcing Branch to tap out from his punches in the second round.[55]

Rockhold was scheduled to fight on February 10, 2018, at UFC 221 against UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker.[56][57] On January 13, 2018, it was reported that Whittaker pulled out from his bout against Rockhold at UFC 221 due to a serious condition of staph infection.[58] He was replaced by Yoel Romero in a bout for the new Interim UFC Middleweight Championship.The winner of this bout would then face Whittaker for a title unification bout.[59] At the UFC 221 the weigh-ins, Romero weighed in at 187.7 pounds, 2.7 pounds over the middleweight championship limit limit of 185 pounds. As a result, Romero was ineligible for the championship title even if he won the fight, while Rockhold would have received the Interim Championship if he had won. Romero was also be fined 30% of his purse, which went to Rockhold.[60] After a slow start, Romero knocked Rockhold out in the third round.[61]

Rockhold was briefly linked to a light heavyweight bout with Alexander Gustafsson on August 4, 2018 at UFC 227. However, Rockhold later re-injured his leg in training and the fight was scuttled.[62]

A rematch with Chris Weidman is expected to take place on November 3, 2018 at UFC 230.[63]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Modeling career[edit]

Rockhold has been signed up by the New York model management agency, Soul Artist Management, the same agency that found fellow UFC fighter Alan Jouban and jump started the career of Channing Tatum. Luke has since had his first spread released as a professional model. With his modeling career quickly picking up steam, he revealed that he would have no problem taking an indefinite hiatus from the Octagon in order to pursue his newly found modeling career. He has also modeled at the New York Fashion Week.[69]

Face of Ralph Lauren cologne[edit]

Rockhold is the new face of Ralph Lauren's “Polo Blue” cologne fragrance. Polo Ralph Lauren posted announced its new relationship with Rockhold on Instagram.[70]

"The Millionaire Matchmaker" reality show[edit]

Rockhold was featured as a guest on The Millionaire Matchmaker reality show on Bravo TV in 2015. On the show he dated mixologist, Kara. Rockhold departed the show after asking Kara an inappropriate question to which he defended himself stating the statement was a scripted joke and the editor dubbed in the scene later on.[71][72]


Rockhold dated singer and actress Demi Lovato for a few months in late 2016. The duo made their first public appearance while attending UFC 205 together, at Madison Square Garden in New York.[73][74]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 16–4 Yoel Romero KO (punches) UFC 221 February 10, 2018 3 1:48 Perth, Australia
Win 16–3 David Branch Submission (punches) UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch September 16, 2017 2 4:04 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Loss 15–3 Michael Bisping KO (punches) UFC 199 June 4, 2016 1 3:36 Los Angeles, California, United States Lost the UFC Middleweight Championship.
Win 15–2 Chris Weidman TKO (punches) UFC 194 December 12, 2015 4 3:12 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Middleweight Championship. Fight of the Night.
Win 14–2 Lyoto Machida Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold April 18, 2015 2 2:31 Newark, New Jersey, United States Performance of the Night
Win 13–2 Michael Bisping Submission (gullotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping July 5, 2014 2 4:01 Sydney, Australia Performance of the Night
Win 12–2 Tim Boetsch Submission (kimura) UFC 172 April 26, 2014 1 2:52 Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Win 11–2 Costas Philippou KO (body kicks) UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou January 15, 2014 1 2:31 Duluth, Georgia, United States
Loss 10–2 Vitor Belfort KO (spinning heel kick) UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold May 18, 2013 1 2:32 Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil Knockout of the Night.
Win 10–1 Tim Kennedy Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy July 14, 2012 5 5:00 Portland, Oregon, United States Retained Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
Win 9–1 Keith Jardine TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine January 7, 2011 1 4:26 Paradise, Nevada, United States Retained Strikeforce Middleweight Championship
Win 8–1 Jacare Souza Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov September 10, 2011 5 5:00 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Win 7–1 Paul Bradley TKO (knees to the body) StrikeForce Challengers 6 February 26, 2010 1 2:24 San Jose, California, United States
Win 6–1 Jesse Taylor Submission (rear-naked choke) Strikeforce Challengers 4 November 6, 2009 1 3:42 Fresno, California, United States
Win 5–1 Cory Devela Submission (rear-naked choke) Strikeforce Challengers 2 July 19, 2009 1 0:30 Kent, Washington, United States
Win 4–1 Buck Meredith Submission (rear-naked choke) Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz April 11, 2009 1 4:07 San Jose, California, United States
Win 3–1 Nik Theotikos Submission (rear-naked choke) Strikeforce Destruction November 21, 2008 1 3:06 San Jose, California, United States
Win 2–1 Josh Neal TKO (submission by punches) Strikeforce Young Guns 2 February 1, 2008 1 1:49 San Jose, California, United States
Loss 1–1 Tony Rubalcava TKO (punches) Melee on the Mountain November 6, 2007 1 2:46 Friant, California, United States
Win 1–0 Mike Martinez Submission (armbar) Melee on the Mountain July 24, 2007 1 2:44 Friant, California, United States

See also[edit]


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  7. ^ "'s Pound-for-Pound Top 10". 
  8. ^ "Fight Matrix | Current MMA Rankings » Pound for Pound". Retrieved 2015-12-15. 
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  11. ^ "Fighter Rankings | UFC ®". UFC. Retrieved 2018-07-26. 
  12. ^ Rockhold, Luke (2014-10-25). "Luke Rockhold's verified Twitter account". Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  13. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Strikeforce's Luke Rockhold in Sacramento Examiner". Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  14. ^ "Santa Cruz's Luke Rockhold". Retrieved 2015-07-14. 
  15. ^ a b "Strikeforce Challengers Tonight: Luke Rockhold On The Past, Future and Working With Herschel". Archived from the original on March 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  16. ^ Michael David Smith. "Luke Rockhold Shows Why He's One of Strikeforce's Top Prospects". 
  17. ^ "Strikeforce middleweight prospect Luke Rockhold latest addition to "EA Sports MMA" roster". 
  18. ^ Mike Chiappetta. "Lindland-Rockhold Match Scratched Due to Injury; Woodley-Galvao Added". 
  19. ^ Strikeforce official for March 5 in Ohio, four main-card bouts set |
  20. ^ "Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza Defends Strikeforce Title Against Luke Rockhold on Sept 10". 
  21. ^ Michael David Smith (September 11, 2011). "Luke Rockhold Upsets Jacare for Strikeforce Middleweight Title". 
  22. ^ "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine". 2011-12-08. Archived from the original on 2012-01-03. 
  23. ^ "Luke Rockhold Expected to Face Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce on Nov 3". MMA Weekly. September 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ Stupp, Dann (2012-10-12). "Strikeforce cancels Nov. 3 event in Oklahoma City, plans January return". Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. 
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  31. ^ "UFC Fight Night 35 in Georgia adds Luke Rockhold-Constantinos Philippou as main event". 2013-11-17. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  32. ^ John Morgan (2014-01-15). "UFC Fight Night 35 results, photos: Luke Rockhold body kick stops Costas Philippou in first". Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
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  34. ^ Matt Erickson (2014-02-04). "Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch set for UFC 172 in Baltimore". mmajunkie. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  35. ^ Josh Sanchez (2014-04-26). "UFC 172 results: Luke Rockhold submits Tim Boetsch in Round 1". Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  36. ^ "Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold set for Nov. 8 in Australia". mmajunkie. 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2014-09-05. 
  37. ^ Steven Muehlhausen (2014-11-08). "UFC Fight Night 55: Luke Rockhold becomes the first man to submit Michael Bisping". Retrieved 2014-11-08. 
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  39. ^ Ariel Helwani (2015-01-08). "Lyoto Machida vs. Luke Rockhold targeted for UFC on FOX 15". Retrieved 2015-01-08. 
  40. ^ Steven Marrocco (2015-04-18). "UFC on FOX 15 results: Luke Rockhold submits Lyoto Machida in dominant performance". Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
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  48. ^ Staff (2016-03-04). "Rockhold-Weidman 2, Cruz-Faber 3 headline UFC 199 on June 4 at The Forum in L.A." Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  49. ^ Ariel Helwani (2016-05-17). "Chris Weidman out of UFC 199; promotion looking for replacement". Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  50. ^ Marc Raimondi (2016-05-18). "Michael Bisping in to face Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 with Chris Weidman out". Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
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  52. ^ Staff (2016-09-11). "Luke Rockhold and 'Jacare' Souza set to rematch at UFC Fight Night 101". Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  53. ^ Ariel Helwani (2016-11-01). "Luke Rockhold vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza rematch canceled". Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  54. ^ Mike Bohn (2017-07-22). "Ex-champ Luke Rockhold returns vs. David Branch in September's UFC Fight Night 116 headliner". Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  55. ^ "UFC Fight Night 116 Results: Luke Rockhold forces David Branch to tapout |". | 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2017-09-17. 
  56. ^ "Georges St-Pierre vacates; Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold title fight set for UFC 221". MMAjunkie. 2017-12-08. Retrieved 2017-12-08. 
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  59. ^ "UFC bombshell: Whittaker out of Rockhold defence". PerthNow. 2018-01-13. Retrieved 2018-01-13. 
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  61. ^ "UFC 221 results: Yoel Romero knocks out Luke Rockhold". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2018-02-11. 
  62. ^ "Luke Rockhold re-injures leg, tabling talks of Alexander Gustafsson fight". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2018-06-09. 
  63. ^ Drahota, Mike (2018-08-18). "Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman 2 Confirmed For UFC 230". Retrieved 2018-08-19. 
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  65. ^ Breen Jordan (2014-12-30). "The 2014 Submission of the year". 
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  67. ^ "'s 2015 Upset of the Year". FightMatrix. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  68. ^ "'s 2015 Noteworthy Match of the Year". FightMatrix. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  69. ^ "Luke Rockhold definitely with the right modeling agency". September 25, 2016. 
  70. ^ Esther Lin (2018-03-02). "Luke Rockhold scores deal as new face of Ralph Lauren cologne". MMAFighting. 
  71. ^ Winter, Katie (2015-01-26). "UFC Middleweight Luke Rockhold can face almost any challenge inside the cage but will he get KO'd by love???". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  72. ^ "Demi Lovato's beau Luke Rockhold was kicked off Millionaire Matchmaker". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  73. ^ Thompson, Avery (August 26, 2016). "Demi Lovato Dating UFC Star Luke Rockhold After Wilmer Valderrama Breakup". HollywoodLife. 
  74. ^ Vulpo, Mike (November 13, 2016). "Demi Lovato and Luke Rockhold Step Out Holding Hands at UFight Night in New York City". Eonline. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ronaldo Souza
5th Strikeforce Middleweight Champion
September 10, 2011 – January 12, 2013
Strikeforce banner dissolved into UFC
Preceded by
Chris Weidman
7th UFC Middleweight Champion
December 12, 2015 – June 4, 2016
Succeeded by
Michael Bisping