Luke Rockhold doesn’t care if you think he’s cocky.
Former UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold still believes he is the best in the world. Last year he lost his belt to Michael Bisping in a fight that he entered injured and overconfident. This Saturday he will take his last step back towards the undisputed title as he fights Cuban Olympian Yoel Romero for the interim belt at UFC Perth. Luke submitted a piece to “The Player’s Voice” in which he discussed his cockiness, his love of Australia, and his relationship with Demi Lovato.
“I found myself moved from the sports pages to the gossip pages again recently when I dated Demi Lovato. I was in the gym and watched her train. She’s passionate. She’s talented. I took to that and we hung out a bit. Anytime you find someone like that – I appreciate passionate, driven women – it’s nice. And at the time, it was fun for me and she’s still a nice girl.”
He also said that the relationship becomes dominated by its treatment in the public sphere.
“I’ve learned it is what they make of it.”
Rockhold mentioned that he stays single so that he can focus all of his energy on the fight game and also so that he has the freedom to travel and navigate life independently.
“Taking a break like that clears and expands my mind. When I travel, I’m always diving into new things, like seeking information from trainers I meet. I’m a travelin’ man, so I’m going to take advantage of that knowledge.”
Rockhold has been widely criticized for his demeanor, which can come off smug, cocky, and arrogant. He doesn’t deny these qualities, instead he embraces them, saying that to a degree they are necessary for fighter.
“I might get aggressive at stages. Some people don’t want to hear it, they might hate you for it. But what I say, and who I am, is real. Fighting is completely different from anything else. Being a fighter means you cannot question yourself for a fucking second.”
The drawback to this of course is potential overconfidence. Commentators almost unanimously agree that overconfidence was a major factor in Luke’s sudden KO loss to Bisping, a fighter who was rated much lower and whom he had beaten easily before. However, Rockhold maintains that it’s better to air on the side of overconfidence than self-doubt.
“This is a game of inches and if you second-guess yourself or hesitate, you fucking fail. So forgive me for erring on the side of my ego, for being too brash. To be humble at some level … yeah, OK, but I know what the fuck I’m going to do as a fighter. I can’t think it differently. And I never have.”
“If you have this mindset to pursue your humble side, you’re not going to get far in this game.”