UFC’s Luke Rockhold On ‘Cagefighter’ and His Return to the Octagon

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Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was looking out for his appearing debut when the script for Cagefighter fell on his doorstep. The function of Tony Gunn, a struggle coach who helps a mixed marital artist whereas getting ready for an epic battle, could has nicely have been written for him.

“The struggle world is way from international to me, so I had a variety of expertise to tug from,” Rockhold tells Males’s Journal. Not solely has the fighter put in his justifiable share of showdowns, however he’s labored on the instructing aspect of the sport besides. The venture additionally got here with the chance to work together with his outdated buddy and MMA legend Chuck Liddell. “I simply couldn’t say no.”

Rockhold is way from accomplished together with his personal combating profession although, planning a return to the UFC ring in early 2021. We talked to the Strikeforce veteran on filming coaching montages, restoration strategies, and his preparation for the Octagon.

Males’s Journal: Did the character of Tony Gunn remind you of anybody you’ve met over your profession?

Luke Rockhold: I’ve come throughout a number of boxing coaches on this planet of MMA who suppose they know all of it. They’ve this form of vibe about them. They suppose boxing is paramount over each different struggle model, they usually need to shove the remainder to the aspect. I don’t need to title any names, however I’ve undoubtedly had a number of run-ins with these varieties, so I used to be in a position to pull from that. There’s no query the character is a little bit of a dick, so we had enjoyable taking part in round with that, too.

How was working with Chuck Liddell?

Chuck has had my again from day one. I had the identical supervisor as him, so we had been within the combine collectively. I’ve been coaching collectively since an early age. It was a blast attending to have just a little forwards and backwards with him on the set. Getting that depth on the display is simple whenever you’re working with Chuck. Loads of jabs going forwards and backwards, not simply the punches both.

Did you guys get any coaching in whilst you had been filming?

I wasn’t in a position to do any periods with Chuck as a result of he’d simply gotten surgical procedure. I did find yourself sparing with the director, Jesse [Quinones], and one of many different actors, Alex [Montagenani]. They had been fairly robust guys, knew the best way to hold when it got here to jiu-jitsu. I really ended up tearing Jesse’s hamstring throughout a roll! Apparently I needed to depart an actual mark on the movie crew…clearly a mistake, simply occurred throughout a transition. It was a tough day at work for him the subsequent day on set. He was limping round, however pushed by means of it.

UFC fighter Luke Rockhold Zuffa LLC

Given your historical past with the game, was the director open to listening to from you and Chuck on what struggle life is de facto like?

Jesse was very receptive to listening to about my profession and enter, in addition to Chuck’s. I believe his objective was to make this really feel as actual as attainable, and he knew one of the best ways to get there was by listening to individuals who’ve accomplished it earlier than. He listened to a couple issues we needed to say and was all the way down to put them in.

There are a number of nice coaching montages in there. How was that course of like?

There have been undoubtedly a pair good, exhausting coaching scenes, and I needed to make these as intense as attainable. Since I play a personality on the teaching aspect of issues, I used to be undoubtedly seeking to be an additional form of asshole. Jesse helped out quite a bit to get us all psyched up within the second. I’ve to say there are few issues extra enjoyable than simply popping out of your sneakers and being an entire jerk.

How do you want being on the receiving finish of the main target mitts?

I don’t suppose my elbows take pleasure in taking an excessive amount of of that. I don’t thoughts it sometimes, in fact, as a result of I take pleasure in teaching, however I like directing fighters relatively than holding the pads. I need to see the complete image, versus simply taking punches on the palms.

Since we’re speaking about combating films, what’s your favourite?

Bloodsport has all the time been my inspiration. That was the film that actually introduced me into combined martial arts. Getting to look at Jean-Claude Van Damme kick ass made me need to struggle like him.

I do know you lately had surgical procedure with a view to get again in combating form. How did it go?

The surgical procedure went nicely. I needed to reconstruct my pinky toe, which I had uncared for to a level. It was an vital process, however a tricky capsule to swallow, having to put myself up only for a pinky toe. I messed it up unhealthy in coaching someday, and it simply bought worse from there. I’m again on monitor now, all the things is on the up, and I’ll again at full well being quickly.

What strategies of restoration are you counting on as of late?

There’s been a variety of bodily remedy, and a variety of sleep. I’ve to say as you become old you simply learn how a lot you want these good sleeps. Extra lately, I’ve actually been moving into ice baths. I’ve discovered them key in growing my restoration time. The abuse that occurs on the physique throughout a combined martial arts struggle is large. There’s such profit to that cold and warm distinction, and I imagine it’s accomplished a lot in serving to to regenerate my physique. Not solely that nevertheless it retains the irritation that comes with accidents down, and retains the circulation up. You’ll be able to really feel it particularly within the decrease elements of your physique, these farthest from the center. Throughout my struggle camps I used to get them in as soon as every week. However now I’ll do as much as three days every week—for about three to 5 minutes.

UFC fighter Luke Rockhold throwing a punch
UFC fighter Luke Rockhold throwing a punch Zuffa LLC

Do you could have an estimated date in your return to the Octagon?

I used to be initially considering I used to be going to be within the cage once more by the top of this 12 months, however now it feels prefer it’ll be early subsequent 12 months. I simply don’t have the need to struggle compromised. I’ve accomplished that earlier than, and it simply doesn’t do anybody justice. I need to struggle at the most effective of my capability. That’s what will get me enthusiastic about competing, is having the ability to do it with none pains or sprains holding me again. If I’m wholesome, I can compete with anybody.

Are you aware what weight you’ll compete at?

I really feel like 185 kilos is the higher alternative for me. The method of reducing weight has been taking its toll an increasing number of. I might additionally see myself going to 205 kilos. I’ve been there earlier than, and I’ve seen what Jan Błachowicz can do within the ring and I do know that he’s beatable.

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