Luke Rockhold returns to action Jan. 15 when he takes on Costas Philippou in the UFC Fight Night 35 main event.
Ahead of the matchup, Rockhold joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss a variety of topics, including Anderson Silva, skateboarding and more.
On the kick that broke Anderson Silva’s leg: “I cringed at that inside leg kick. Anytime a guy throws an inside leg kick from a southpaw to an orthodox fighter, it’s a dangerous kick. I don’t like throwing it in sparring, to tell you the truth, because you have to commit to that kick. You throw it half-assed, the guy will block it, and when you throw it hard, it’s so easy to check. If the guy just turns in a little bit, it hurts. I’ve hurt my foot and my leg many times. I just don’t like that inside leg kick from a southpaw to orthodox, but I do like my other kicks. Anderson does it well, but it’s a high-risk, high-reward kind of deal.”
On fighting five rounds: “It sucks to be in there for five rounds, I’ll tell you that. Going into those fifth rounds, it’s like, really? You’re fighting a man for half an hour. It’s crazy. You just want to get it over with, but you’ve got to pace yourself to a certain extent and I feel like I just get stronger as the fight goes on. That’s the good and the bad part for me, I guess. My best rounds in sparring are my last, but I’ve got to start strong and that’s been a big focus of mine in this training camp, is starting off stronger and sharper.”
On being a martial artist versus being a fighter: “I’m a mixed martial artist. That’s what I am. … I think there’s guys that are martial artists and there’s guys that are fighters. If you’ve seen my fights, I’m not scared to fight. It’s good to have that martial arts side in you, but if you don’t have that fight, you’re not going to last. You’ve seen that with Uriah Hall. I think the guy has broken down. It’s not good to not be a fighter. If you’re in there just trying to use technique and all that, someone’s going to open you up and someone’s going to find you and turn you into a brawler, and if you don’t have that in you, you’re going to crumble, but I know I have that in me and I’m not going to back down. You hit me in the face, I’m going to try to hit you back harder.”
On whether MMA has hardened him: “There’s no doubt that MMA has hardened me. I’ve trained with Cain Velasquez my whole career and his, so we’ve kind of grown up together. I’ve taken a lot of beatings from Cain. That’s hardened me and all the big tough guys in my gym. A lot of things have hardened me in life. I think skateboarding, to tell you the truth -- it sounds kind of corny, but skateboarding toughened me up a lot in my youth. It kind of geared me up for taking the pain of fighting and just to push through it. I’d always fall hard. I’d break my wrist and I’d keep skating. I’d bust every part of my body and smash my face and just get up and want to complete the trick. It kind of created a fire under me, and it’s translated to MMA and I just get tougher.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 35:42).