Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was looking out for his appearing debut when the script for Cagefighter fell on his doorstep. The position of Tony Gunn, a battle coach who helps a blended marital artist whereas getting ready for an epic battle, might has effectively have been written for him.
“The battle world is much from international to me, so I had a whole lot of expertise to drag from,” Rockhold tells Males’s Journal. Not solely has the fighter put in his justifiable share of showdowns, however he’s labored on the instructing facet of the sport in addition. The mission additionally got here with the chance to work along with his outdated buddy and MMA legend Chuck Liddell. “I simply couldn’t say no.”
Rockhold is much from completed along with his personal combating profession although, planning a return to the UFC ring in early 2021. We talked to the Strikeforce veteran on filming coaching montages, restoration strategies, and his preparation for the Octagon.
Males’s Journal: Did the character of Tony Gunn remind you of anybody you’ve met over your profession?
Luke Rockhold: I’ve come throughout a number of boxing coaches on the planet of MMA who assume they know all of it. They’ve this form of vibe about them. They assume boxing is paramount over each different battle fashion, they usually need to shove the remaining to the facet. I don’t need to title any names, however I’ve undoubtedly had a number of run-ins with these sorts, so I used to be in a position to pull from that. There’s no query the character is a little bit of a dick, so we had enjoyable taking part in round with that, too.
How was working with Chuck Liddell?
Chuck has had my again from day one. I had the identical supervisor as him, so we had been within the combine collectively. I’ve been coaching collectively since an early age. It was a blast attending to have just a little forwards and backwards with him on the set. Getting that depth on the display screen is straightforward if you’re working with Chuck. Loads of jabs going forwards and backwards, not simply the punches both.
Did you guys get any coaching in when you had been filming?
I wasn’t in a position to do any classes with Chuck as a result of he’d simply gotten surgical procedure. I did find yourself sparing with the director, Jesse [Quinones], and one of many different actors, Alex [Montagenani]. They had been fairly powerful guys, knew methods to hold when it got here to jiu-jitsu. I truly ended up tearing Jesse’s hamstring throughout a roll! Apparently I needed to go away an actual mark on the movie crew…clearly a mistake, simply occurred throughout a transition. It was a tough day at work for him the following day on set. He was limping round, however pushed by way of it.
Given your historical past with the game, was the director open to listening to from you and Chuck on what battle life is admittedly like?
Jesse was very receptive to listening to about my profession and enter, in addition to Chuck’s. I believe his objective was to make this really feel as actual as doable, and he knew one of the best ways to get there was by listening to individuals who’ve completed it earlier than. He listened to some issues we needed to say and was all the way down to put them in.
There are a number of nice coaching montages in there. How was that course of like?
There have been undoubtedly a pair good, onerous coaching scenes, and I needed to make these as intense as doable. Since I play a personality on the teaching facet of issues, I used to be undoubtedly trying to be an additional type of asshole. Jesse helped out lots to get us all psyched up within the second. I’ve to say there are few issues extra enjoyable than simply popping out of your sneakers and being an entire jerk.
How do you want being on the receiving finish of the main target mitts?
I don’t assume my elbows get pleasure from taking an excessive amount of of that. I don’t thoughts it occasionally, after all, as a result of I get pleasure from teaching, however I like directing fighters somewhat than holding the pads. I need to see the total image, versus simply taking punches on the palms.
Since we’re speaking about combating motion pictures, what’s your favourite?
Bloodsport has at all times been my inspiration. That was the film that basically introduced me into blended martial arts. Getting to observe Jean-Claude Van Damme kick ass made me need to battle like him.
I do know you latterly had surgical procedure so as to get again in combating form. How did it go?
The surgical procedure went effectively. I needed to reconstruct my pinky toe, which I had uncared for to a level. It was an vital process, however a tricky capsule to swallow, having to put myself up only for a pinky toe. I messed it up unhealthy in coaching someday, and it simply obtained worse from there. I’m again on observe now, every little thing is on the up, and I’ll again at full well being quickly.
What strategies of restoration are you counting on as of late?
There’s been a whole lot of bodily remedy, and a whole lot of sleep. I’ve to say as you grow old you simply learn the way a lot you want these good sleeps. Extra just lately, I’ve actually been moving into ice baths. I’ve discovered them key in growing my restoration time. The abuse that occurs on the physique throughout a blended martial arts battle is big. There’s such profit to that cold and warm distinction, and I consider it’s completed a lot in serving to to regenerate my physique. Not solely that but it surely retains the irritation that comes with accidents down, and retains the circulation up. You may really feel it particularly within the decrease components of your physique, these farthest from the guts. Throughout my battle camps I used to get them in as soon as every week. However now I’ll do as much as three days every week—for about three to 5 minutes.
Do you could have an estimated date to your return to the Octagon?
I used to be initially considering I used to be going to be within the cage once more by the top of this yr, however now it feels prefer it’ll be early subsequent yr. I simply don’t have the will to battle compromised. I’ve completed that earlier than, and it simply doesn’t do anybody justice. I need to battle at one of the best of my capability. That’s what will get me enthusiastic about competing, is having the ability to do it with none pains or sprains holding me again. If I’m wholesome, I can compete with anybody.
Have you learnt what weight you’ll compete at?
I really feel like 185 kilos is the higher selection for me. The method of slicing weight has been taking its toll an increasing number of. I might additionally see myself going to 205 kilos. I’ve been there earlier than, and I’ve seen what Jan Błachowicz can do within the ring and I do know that he’s beatable.
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