American Kickboxing Academy’s Luke Rockhold earned his seventh professional victory and his sixth straight win in Strikeforce last weekend at “Strikeforce Challengers 6” in San Jose. For some odd reason, his opponents just can’t seem to make it out of the first round. Whether by submission, and now TKO, Rockhold keeps proving he is the superior fighter.
Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com) spoke with the rising middleweight prospect this week to see how it felt to get his first TKO victory and how close he thinks he might be to a title shot. We also talked about the rivalry between AKA and Cesar Gracie’s Academy, and got Luke’s opinion on the whole Walker vs. Canseco thing. We even talked a little skateboarding.
Hey Luke, thanks for speaking with us today at Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com). How are things with you, and how are you feeling after your big win over Paul Bradley on Friday?
Feeling good, feeling great, feeling great, feeling good!
You joked after the fight that you would like to get out of the first round, but it has to feel good to just keep putting these guys away, right?
Ya that was a joke! I train to finish and finish is what I expect to do! Why work a full day when you can work a half day!
Hey that’s my philosophy too! All your wins up to this point had been by first round submission. Now you get a first round TKO. How did it feel to get your first TKO victory and do it on national TV?
I have to agree, that fight with Evela should have been stopped. How did you get into MMA in the first place, and how long have you been at AKA now?
I grew up getting beat on by my older brothers and friends. I fell into judo in my youth, wrestled though junior high and high school, then transitioned to jiu-jitsu after high school. I got into a lot of fights growing up, never was the guy to start them, but I was always finishing them! I started winning some big jiu-jitsu competitions and knew I could fight so I decided to take a chance. I went to AKA to test myself against the pros and realized I could do this. From then on I started changing my life to make it my life, now here I am!
How close do you think you are to a title shot, and do you feel you are ready for a fight like that, against someone like Shields or Henderson? Who would you like to fight next?
I feel I’m on the right track, still a little green so I would like some more experience before fitting in to the title picture. I want to be the best and I want to fight the best but I don’t want to rush it! There are so many tough guys in my division to fight, it doesn’t really matter!
What is your opinion of Jake Shields and how do you see yourself matching up with him? Is that a fight you would like?
Jake is a really tough guy, he can beat anybody! People criticize his stand up but he’s effective with his strikes and most people can’t touch his ground game! He’s a friend of mine, I’m not looking for that fight but this is a business, he’s the champ and I want to be the champ!
There seems to be some competition going on between AKA and Cesar Gracie’s Academy which often happens when schools are relatively close to each other. What are your thoughts on the “rivalry” between the two schools, and with them wanting to train Jose Canseco to fight Herschel Walker?
I think that’s bullshit who is this Dan Black guy talking out his ass! I’m friends with all those guys and this guy just wants his 15 minutes, get a life and shut your mouth! Jose is a cheater in sport and life and just doing it for the money, Herschel is a true legend, doesn’t need a dime, loves the sport, and wants to see it grow! That fight does absolutely nothing for the sport!
Talk to me about skateboarding. I skated for about 16 years, and I know the coordination and athleticism that takes. How much were you into skating, where did you skate, and if you were sponsored who did you ride for?
I was really into skating growing up! Me and my friends used to skate everyday! I had a half pipe in my backyard all through high school and so did a few of my friends! That was our thing when the waves were small we’d go skate! It made me really tough, I took some good beatings. I was good but I was into too many things at that age, so never pursued that end of it.
It’s been a few years since I skated, although I was looking at a new board a couple of days ago. Do you still skate, and how would you say MMA and skateboarding compare to each other?
I don’t really skate too muck anymore, it’s a little hazardous to my health! When I skate I know no boundaries so tend to just stay away. I don’t think they compare much except for the mental and physical toughness it takes.
Thanks Luke for taking the time to speak with us at Pro MMA Now (www.prommanow.com). Are there any sponsors you would like to thank or do you want to give any shout outs?