Craig Jones and Luke Rockhold will now be meeting in an exciting grappling match at Israel Fight Night on September 21st, 2023. While Jones obviously has a significant advantage in experience when it comes to professional grappling matches, Rockhold is no stranger to competing in the sport himself. In fact he’s even taken on Jones teammate Nicky Rodriguez all the way back at Polaris 12, where he dropped a very close decision to the elite grappler. Although he was known as a well-rounded fighter during his MMA career, Rockhold actually started out winning multiple IBJJF World Championship gold medals at the colored belt levels.
Rockhold started taking on some of the best fighters on the planet almost immediately, working his way up to becoming a StrikeForce middleweight world champion before he’d even had 10 fights. He beat elite competitors like Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza before eventually moving over to the UFC, where he shot up the ranks equally quickly and added the UFC middleweight title to his collection. He retired from the sport in 2022 with a number of wins over the legends of his era like Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida, but he’s made some unexpected moves since then.
Rockhold made his bare-knuckle boxing debut against fellow MMA veteran Mike Perry and now it looks as though he’s returning to grappling competition as well. It seems as though this match with Craig Jones isn’t the only thing that Luke Rockhold has planned for the future either, as he recently called out Georges St-Pierre for a grappling match too. It’ll be interesting to see how he manages to cope with a specialist like Jones when meeting him under the ruleset that he excels in, and how Jones deals with the physical pressure of someone like Rockhold.
Craig Jones announced that he was going to face Luke Rockhold in a grappling match at Israel Fight Night on September 21st, 2023 in a recent post to his official Instagram account: