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


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

“The struggle world is much from overseas to me, so I had a number of expertise to drag from,” Rockhold tells Males’s Journal. Not solely has the fighter put in his fair proportion of showdowns, however he’s labored on the instructing facet of the sport besides. The challenge additionally got here with the chance to work together with his previous buddy and MMA legend Chuck Liddell. “I simply couldn’t say no.”

Rockhold is much from achieved 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 couple of boxing coaches on the planet of MMA who assume they know all of it. They’ve this type of vibe about them. They assume boxing is paramount over each different struggle model, they usually wish to shove the remaining to the facet. I don’t wish to identify any names, however I’ve undoubtedly had a couple of run-ins with these varieties, so I used to be capable of pull from that. There’s no query the character is a little bit of a dick, so we had enjoyable enjoying 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 have been within the combine collectively. I’ve been coaching collectively since an early age. It was a blast attending to have somewhat 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 when you have been filming?

I wasn’t capable of do any classes 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 have been fairly powerful guys, knew how one can hold when it got here to jiu-jitsu. I truly ended up tearing Jesse’s hamstring throughout a roll! Apparently I wished 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 way of it.

Ufc Fighter Luke Rockhold
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 admittedly like?

Jesse was very receptive to listening to about my profession and enter, in addition to Chuck’s. I believe his purpose was to make this really feel as actual as doable, and he knew the easiest way to get there was by listening to individuals who’ve achieved it earlier than. He listened to some issues we needed to say and was right down to put them in.

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

There have been undoubtedly a pair good, exhausting coaching scenes, and I wished to make these as intense as doable. Since I play a personality on the teaching facet of issues, I used to be undoubtedly trying to be an additional sort of asshole. Jesse helped out loads 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 a whole jerk.

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

I don’t assume my elbows take pleasure in taking an excessive amount of of that. I don’t thoughts it sometimes, after all, as a result of I take pleasure in teaching, however I like directing fighters somewhat than holding the pads. I wish to see the complete image, versus simply taking punches on the arms.

Since we’re speaking about combating motion pictures, 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 wish to struggle like him.

I do know you latterly 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 essential process, however a troublesome capsule to swallow, having to put myself up only for a pinky toe. I messed it up unhealthy in coaching sooner or later, and it simply bought worse from there. I’m again on observe 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 lately?

There’s been a number of bodily remedy, and a number of sleep. I’ve to say as you grow old you simply learn the way a lot you want these good sleeps. Extra not too long ago, I’ve actually been entering 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 hot distinction, and I imagine it’s achieved 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 possibly can really feel it particularly within the decrease components of your physique, these farthest from the guts. 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 yr, however now it feels prefer it’ll be early subsequent yr. I simply don’t have the need to struggle compromised. I’ve achieved that earlier than, and it simply doesn’t do anybody justice. I wish to struggle at the perfect of my means. 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 selection for me. The method of slicing weight has been taking its toll increasingly more. 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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