UFC Fighter Luke Rockhold On Filming 'Cagefighter' and His Return to the Octagon

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was on the lookout for his acting debut when the script for Cagefighter fell on his doorstep. The job of Tony Gunn, a combat mentor who assists a blended marital artist though planning for an epic battle, may perhaps has well have been created for him.

“The struggle earth is considerably from overseas to me, so I experienced a large amount of expertise to pull from,” Rockhold tells Men’s Journal. Not only has the fighter set in his fair share of showdowns, but he&#8217s worked on the instructing aspect of the sport to boot. The challenge also arrived with the prospect to function with his outdated friend and MMA legend Chuck Liddell. “I just couldn’t say no.”

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Rockhold is considerably from carried out with his very own battling job nevertheless, planning a return to the UFC ring in early 2021. We talked to the Strikeforce veteran on filming education montages, recovery strategies, and his preparing for the Octagon.

Males&#8217s Journal: Did the character of Tony Gunn remind you of everyone you&#8217ve satisfied above your vocation?

Luke Rockhold: I&#8217ve arrive across a number of boxing coaches in the planet of MMA who assume they know it all. They have this kind of vibe about them. They imagine boxing is paramount more than each individual other struggle design and style, and they want to shove the relaxation to the aspect. I really do not want to title any names, but I&#8217ve undoubtedly had a couple of operate-ins with those kinds, so I was equipped to pull from that. There&#8217s no concern the character is a little bit of a dick, so we had entertaining actively playing around with that, far too.

How was working with Chuck Liddell?

Chuck has had my back from working day a person. I experienced the similar supervisor as him, so we were being in the blend with each other. I&#8217ve been instruction alongside one another because an early age. It was a blast getting to have a little back again and forth with him on the set. Obtaining that depth on the monitor is straightforward when you&#8217re functioning with Chuck. Plenty of jabs going again and forth, not just the punches possibly.

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Did you fellas get any education in when you ended up filming?

I was not capable to do any sessions with Chuck for the reason that he&#8217d just gotten surgical procedures. I did close up sparing with the director, Jesse [Quinones], and a single of the other actors, Alex [Montagenani]. They had been really rough guys, knew how to dangle when it arrived to jiu-jitsu. I in fact finished up tearing Jesse’s hamstring for the duration of a roll! Seemingly I desired to go away a serious mark on the movie crew&#8230definitely a slip-up, just took place in the course of a changeover. It was a rough working day at function for him the following day on set. He was limping about, but pushed by means of it.

UFC fighter Luke Rockhold
UFC fighter Luke Rockhold Zuffa LLC

Presented your record with the sport, was the director open to listening to from you and Chuck on what battle existence is actually like?

Jesse was pretty receptive to listening to about my job and enter, as very well as Chuck’s. I believe his target was to make this really feel as true as probable, and he knew the very best way to get there was by listening to people today who&#8217ve completed it ahead of. He listened to a couple of points we experienced to say and was down to set them in.

There are a couple fantastic teaching montages in there. How was that method like?

There were being unquestionably a pair great, difficult schooling scenes, and I required to make individuals as powerful as doable. Given that I participate in a character on the coaching aspect of points, I was absolutely on the lookout to be an added sort of asshole. Jesse assisted out a large amount to get us all psyched up in the second. I have to say there are few issues a lot more pleasurable than just coming out of your sneakers and staying a total jerk.

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How do you like getting on the obtaining finish of the aim mitts?

I do not consider my elbows get pleasure from taking much too a lot of that. I do not mind it from time to time, of system, simply because I enjoy coaching, but I like directing fighters relatively than holding the pads. I want to see the entire photo, compared to just using punches on the palms.

Given that we&#8217re chatting about preventing motion pictures, what&#8217s your favorite?

Bloodsport has generally been my inspiration. That was the movie that truly introduced me into mixed martial arts. Having to observe Jean-Claude Van Damme kick ass produced me want to fight like him.

I know you recently experienced medical procedures in get to get back again in preventing condition. How did it go?

The surgical procedure went perfectly. I experienced to reconstruct my pinky toe, which I had neglected to a diploma. It was an significant procedure, but a hard tablet to swallow, acquiring to lay myself up just for a pinky toe. I messed it up undesirable in teaching a person working day, and it just received worse from there. I&#8217m back again on monitor now, almost everything is on the up, and I’ll back again at total health quickly.

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What methods of recovery are you relying on these times?

There&#8217s been a lot of physical therapy, and a large amount of snooze. I have to say as you get more mature you just find out how significantly you will need those very good sleeps. Much more a short while ago, I&#8217ve certainly been finding into ice baths. I&#8217ve identified them key in escalating my restoration time. The abuse that comes about on the physique all through a blended martial arts battle is massive. There&#8217s this sort of benefit to that warm and cold contrast, and I believe that it&#8217s carried out so a great deal in assisting to regenerate my human body. Not only that but it retains the swelling that arrives with accidents down, and keeps the circulation up. You can come to feel it in particular in the reduced components of your system, individuals farthest from the heart. In the course of my combat camps I used to get them in after a week. But now I&#8217ll do up to 3 days a week—for about three to five minutes.

UFC fighter Luke Rockhold throwing a punch
UFC fighter Luke Rockhold throwing a punch Zuffa LLC

Do you have an estimated day for your return to the Octagon?

I was initially pondering I was going to be in the cage again by the stop of this yr, but now it feels like it&#8217ll be early following yr. I just do not have the desire to battle compromised. I&#8217ve completed that prior to, and it just does not do anyone justice. I want to combat at the very best of my potential. That&#8217s what gets me psyched about competing, is currently being equipped to do it without having any pains or sprains keeping me back again. If I&#8217m balanced, I can contend with everyone.

Do you know what fat you&#8217ll contend at?

I truly feel like 185 kilos is the improved decision for me. The procedure of slicing bodyweight has been getting its toll much more and extra. I could also see myself heading to 205 pounds. I&#8217ve been there before, and I&#8217ve observed what Jan Błachowicz can do in the ring and I know that he’s beatable.

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