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He might look like a laid-back Californian, but Luke Rockhold has proven to be one of the UFC’s most fearsome competitors – a top-ranked middleweight with a string of impressive victories and an eye on the title.
Since joining the UFC in 2013, Rockhold has scored wins over such notable fighters as Costas Philippou, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping and Lyoto Machida, the last three by submission. He previously enjoyed a nine-fight win streak in Strikeforce, capturing that organization’s middleweight title and totaling the most submission wins in its history.
Rockhold grew up in an athletic family. His father, Steve, played professional basketball in Europe, and his older brother, Matt, is a well-known professional surfer. Luke surfed the breaks in his hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif., and also skateboarded, but he didn’t find his passion until he took up jiu-jitsu and decided to try mixed martial arts.
At the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Rockhold found his calling. AKA is the home gym of former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and current light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, and it’s where Rockhold began to work with his head coach, Javier Mendez.