Former UFC champion Luke Rockhold (16-6) is officially a free agent. The former middleweight champion announced his free agency today on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Rockhold said that he asked the UFC for his release and the promotion granted his wish. He’s free to sign with any promotion.
During his interview, Rockhold mentioned the PFL, Bellator, ONE Championship, and boxing would all be reasonable paths for him next. The last time we saw Rockhold was back in August when he took on Paulo Costa.
It was Rockhold’s first fight in over three years. While there were moments where he did some positive things, the inactivity, injuries, and altitude all played a role in him getting extremely tired. He ultimately lost a unanimous decision.
After the fight was over, Rockhold told Joe Rogan that he was retiring from the sport. However, months later, he’s changed his mind and he wants to fight again.
What’s next post-UFC?
Rockhold was always a vocal critic of the UFC and their pay for fighters. He was never the biggest fan of Dana White so a divorce seemed like a positive for both parties. Now that he’s a free agent, who has the inside track to sign the former middleweight champion.
If I had to put money on it, I would say that Rockhold ends up in the PFL. I think the PFL has so much momentum right now in terms of signing guys who breakaway from the UFC. Given Rockhold’s size, I could see him being an option for Jake Paul’s next opponent in the boxing ring after his fight with Tommy Fury.
That being said, Rockhold does have a good relationship with Scott Coker from his days in Strikeforce. I expect them to be in the thick of things with a quick path towards middleweight gold for Rockhold. My guess is that Rockhold’s free agency will move pretty quickly. I think he’ll sign with a new promotion sometime in February.