Luke Rockhold believes he can physically match Nick Rodriguez at Polaris 12

Luke Rockhold will look to take his strong grappling skills to the jiu-jitsu world.

Rockhold faces ADCC silver medalist Nick Rodriguez in the main event of Polaris 12 on Saturday and thinks that physically, he’ll be able to match Rodriguez in the grappling department.

“He seems to bully guys around with his wrestling and his decent high-school wrestling, which doesn’t mean too much when it comes down to when you wrestle with the big boys,” Rockhold said in a recent interview with Submission Radio. “I mean, he’s a good wrestler for jiu-jitsu. I think he’ll find that I’ll be able to push him there. I’ll be able to get takedowns if I need them. And then when it comes to the grappling, you know, I’m a physical guy, and a lot of these jiu-jitsu guys aren’t physical. And I can match them in so many ways there. So I’m gonna match him.”

Rockhold also expressed his frustration toward the sport of jiu-jitsu, and the single-minded approach that most practitioners have in giving up advantageous positions to go for a single attack.

But he thinks his Rodriguez will actually go head to head with him.

“He’s not one of those stupid leg lock guys that just kind of pull guard and butt scoot,” Rockhold said. “This whole modern-day jiu-jitsu thing kind of pisses me off. It’s pretty stupid in the sport of jiu-jitsu, where the guys are all leg lock based and they just compromise themselves trying to get these foot locks. So, it’s nice to have a guy that’s gonna go toe to toe at least.”

“Jiu-jitsu, it’s a weird thing these days. I don’t know. (There’s) not a lot of rules. All these guys, these foot lock … I don’t know. I can fare well. If I dedicate myself and really do this thing like I really want to, Nick Rodriguez shouldn’t be a problem, and neither should a lot of these guys.”

Rockhold, who’s often used his grappling in MMA to win fights, is confident that he has the base and preparation to do well in the grappling world. After all, he did win the UFC middleweight title by showcasing his grappling when he rained down punches on Chris Weidman in full mount to get a TKO win.

And he’s been rolling with some of the best guys in the world on the mat in preparation for Saturday, when a win over such a credentialed grappler and jiu-jitsu practitioner in Rodriguez would certainly be a feather in his cap.

“I’ve rolled with Craig (Jones), I’ve rolled with Gordon (Ryan), I go with Marcus Buchecha all the time,” Rockhold said. “I’m very capable of doing what I need to do. But I’m just gonna have fun. I’m gonna take it one at a time. I’m gonna go out there and try to put this dude away, put him to sleep. And then, I think beating a guy that took second at Abu Dhabi at heavyweight, I think it should say something. So yeah, I’m OK.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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