Lights, Camera, Action!


Cagefighter’s Luke Rockhold opens up on acting, possible UFC return

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-5-0) doesn’t like to put limits on his potential.

Crossfire Vault – Screen Media acquires U.S. rights to ‘Cagefighter,’ announces October release

So it’s no surprise to see Rockhold in Cagefighter, his first major acting gig, in a relatively comfortable role of Tony Dunn, who, along with Marcus (Chuck Liddell), trains the protagonist Reiss Gibbons (Alex Montagnani) in the film.

“It’s an experience,” Rockhold said to MMA Crossfire on the phone. “You go outside yourself, play a role, and it’s interesting. I enjoyed it.”

It was also cool to hang with friends Chuck Liddell, and Gina Gershon, who are also in the film. “I see Chuck around LA, and hang with him,” Rockhold explained. “Gina too.”

Max Black (Gina Gershon) is flanked by Marcus R (Chuck Liddell ) and Reiss Gibbons L (Alex Montagnani). Courtesy Screen Media)

Rockhold is still recovering from recent shoulder, labrum, pinky toe, and rotator cuff surgery, all products of a long mixed martial arts career at the highest level. He feels about 70 per cent healthy and getting better for a possible return to the UFC since his last bout in July 2019.

While on the shelf, he, like everyone one else, has been impressed with the rise of Khamzat Chimaev. “He’s been impressive, Rockhold observed. “I’d fight him. He’s a little small, but you know.” Asked about Michael Chiesa’s reasoning that KC is not a good fight for ranked fighters at this time, Rockhold disagreed. “I think he has enough hype under him at this point.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will soon unify the lightweight belt Oct. 24 at UFC 254 on Fight Island and Rockhold feels Justin will need a herculean effort to succeed. “Justin is tough, but I’m definitely going with my boy Khabib,” he said. “Ground and pound.”

Luke Rockhold
Luke Rockhold (R) in a file photo against Yoel Romero.. Photo courtesy Jeff Bottari (UFC/Zuffa LLC.

For now, Rockhold is focused on returning to full health and then taking on the cream of the crop in the middleweight division. “I feel like I have unfinished business to take care of there,” he explained. Possible opponents could be Robert Whittaker, Chris Weidman, whatever makes sense at middleweight with the lay of the land.

A rematch with Weidman would seem to make a lot of sense.

“I think there has always been the respect with Chris,” Rockhold said thoughtfully. “It’s just that somebody had to win. Which I did.”

The play-by-play booth never once crossed his mind, even though his good friend does a lot of it for the UFC.

“I don’t like commentating,” Rockhold said. “Particularly, about fights I don’t care about. Daniel (Cormier) likes to talk a lot. That’s fine, but I like to be a bit more economical with my words.”

Now that he has the acting experience under his belt, Rockhold is open to more acting gigs once he takes care of some business in the octagon.

“Fight healthy, clean, then I’m ready to go against whoever.”

Cagefighter, which was filmed in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada, releases today to theatres and VOD (Video on Demand).


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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