Luke Rockhold Wants Costa Philippou For UFC Debut

Rockhold retains the Strikeforce middleweigh title (Photos by Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Getty Images via Forza LLC)

The last man to hold the Strikeforce middleweight belt, Luke Rockhold (10-1) is looking forward to his Octagon debut and unlike his lightweight counterpart, Gilbert Melendez, Rockhold will not get an immediate title shot at UFC title holder Anderson Silva.

So to take matters into his own hands, Rockhold wants to find the shortest path to ‘The Spider’ and feels Costa Philippou (12-2, 1NC) will help him get there.

Rockhold spoke to MMAFighting.com recently about his plans for competing in the UFC for the first time.

“I think Costa Philippou makes the most sense right now,” he said. “He’s coming off a win, and I think he’s a good opponent. Let’s get it on at [UFC on FOX 7].”

“I want the fight that gets me to Anderson as fast as I can. I believe I can fight him like no one else can. I want that opportunity because I believe I’m the No. 1 contender.”

UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Melendez is expected to take place April 20, 2013 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

Rockhold had been scheduled to defend his title against undefeated fighter Lorenz Larkin at this past November’s canceled event, and then again at last weekends final Strikeforce event. Both times, Rockhold was kept from defending his belt by a nagging wrist injury.

Rockhold has won nine straight fights which includes two title defenses. His most recent win came in July with a decision victory over Tim Kennedy in Portland, Oregon.

Philippou is on a five fight win streak and is 5-1 in the Octagon since joining the promotion in March 2011. His most recent victory came last month at UFC 155 with a third round TKO finish of Tim Boetsch.

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