Well, Luke Rockhold hasn’t exactly gotten his wish. UFC President Dana White revealed Wednesday evening on a live edition of “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan” on Fox Sports 1 that Rockhold’s first title defense will indeed come against Chris Weidman, and it will happen at UFC 199 in June.
No official date or location is set for the event, but the title bout is likely to headline that card. Rockhold said last month that he was targeting his return for sometime between May and July, but that he didn’t want to fight on the UFC 199 card for fear of losing attention to the following UFC 200 card.
— Garbage Time (@GarbageTime) February 3, 2016
Rockhold took the title by force from Weidman in December, stopping him by TKO in the fourth round after beating him up badly in the third. With a lack of entirely viable contenders, the UFC has decided to book the rematch.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s not the most enticing rematch, and it’s probably why Rockhold’s finding himself relegated to UFC 199 afterall, but at the same time it also works better for the UFC than the Vitor Belfort fight right now, and with Yoel Romero’s suspension it takes him out as well. If Rockhold can repeat his performance, or look even better, he could take the next step to move past Weidman to establish his own legacy as champion. That’s one of the issues with Weidman’s reign, as two of his three successful title fights came against the same man in Anderson Silva. For Rockhold to be more than a placeholder, he’s going to need to beat a number of other competitors while defending that belt.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]
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