Episode 12: Luke Rockhold


“Fighting is like nothing else,” Luke Rockhold mused. “You’re putting it on the line out there…it’s a game of souls.” In this game of souls, Luke Rockhold has found success, becoming a two-time world champion, claiming the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship twice before becoming the UFC Middleweight Champion in a bout against Chris Weidman in 2015.

When TravisMathew caught up with Luke for his episode of Life On Tour, the Santa Cruz, California native was deep in his training process in Boca Raton, Florida—a process that Luke revealed was as much mental preparation as physical.

“I think the physical training goes hand in hand with the mental. When you’re in there, it shows every part about you,” Luke explains. “You cannot mask who you are and hide who you are in a gym when you’re fighting someone. You test their heart, their will, their desire, their discipline, everything they’ve been through, it all comes out.”

As we rode along with Luke, stopping off at his favorite mom-and-pop grocery where he’s known by name, it became clear that Luke’s insight into the sport goes beyond the ordinary. One-part fighter, one-part philosopher, the once-Middleweight Champion understands that in order to succeed, you have to adapt.

After taking off a year and a half from scheduled fights, Luke is ready to get back into the ring. Not only has he rehabilitated a series of injuries, including ACL and PCL tears, he’s made the jump to the Light Heavyweight weight class.

“Injuries are probably the toughest thing in life… To have to sit down and bite the bullet and just do nothing,” Luke told us with a resigned sigh. “I’m getting older, your bones get thicker, your body just gets more dense, and trying to make the Middleweight mark is getting harder for me. My body just doesn’t want to do it anymore. I had to really rethink what I’m doing and how I’m going about this.”

Luke’s time out of the ring allowed him to get a new perspective, “Being content everywhere I go in life, that’s what it’s coming down to. And giving that to as many people as I can.”

Finding freedom in his new weight class, Luke spends most of his time training in the gym, putting on muscle and weight through a strict regimen at Hard Knocks 365 and his training facility, Barwis.

“Mentally, it really feels good and my body has absorbed every bit of it. Having that extra strength is definitely key,” Luke revealed. “At Middleweight, I didn’t really have much room for it. This is kind of a new element to my gamebook, being so focused on strength and conditioning.”