Avoiding the Trap in Pittsburgh

ufc-fn116It doesn’t take long to get a reputation in any sport let alone in MMA where the sport is entirely surrounding the individuals who fight.

Luke Rockhold knows this all too well as he has gained a reputation pretty quickly and for some, he paid for that reputation.

Many see Rockhold as a cocky, over-confident fighter who thinks that he is better than anyone in the UFC.

It isn’t an entirely wrong assertion about Rockhold but there isn’t a fighter in the UFC that doesn’t know they are better than everyone else.

Fighters have to know that in themselves because any doubt will cause mistakes and mistakes will lead to losses.

Whether or not Rockhold is the most confident fighter in the UFC or is just like the rest doesn’t seem to matter much as his reputation is there.

People tend not to like Rockhold too much and in his last fight, many fans thought he got what he deserved.

In a way, he did as he never took Michael Bisping as a serious challenger to the middleweight belt when Bisping took the fight on short notice.

For Rockhold, his first title challenge was going to be an easy one because he had already beat Bisping and it wasn’t even close.

He came in thinking it was going to be one of his easiest fights and as a result he got sloppy and he got caught.

The title loss was one that he made himself by not taking a UFC fighter seriously which can never be the case for anyone.

It just hammered home the reputation that Rockhold has built around himself with many seeing the fight as the perfect expression of what is wrong with Rockhold.

After a long layoff that included a knee injury, Rockhold stepped back into the octagon in another fight that could have been an easy trap fight for him again.

If his attitude matched the perception of what his attitude was then a fight against David Branch could be a big one for Rockhold.

It was built for Rockhold to get some type of revenge and prove that he learned from his mistakes.

David Branch is not the biggest name and with doubt about how effective he can be in the UFC not many thought of him as a major challenger.

After working his way through a number of smaller promotions including the World Series of Fighting, Branch made his way to the top promotion.

All fighters know that the UFC can provide a different level of fighting and Branch has yet to really prove that he belongs in the UFC.

His split decision win over Krzysztof Jotko left a lot to be desired in terms of announcing his arrival in the UFC.

He had the chance to make a much bigger impact against Rockhold but there were still so many questions about whether or not he truly belonged.

That could have been dangerous for Rockhold as it has already been proven that Rockhold is that fighter that has taken other fighters lightly.mma-sidebar.fw

Another fighter that hadn’t done a lot in the UFC against lesser talent might be seen as an easy fight.

Thinking that way though opened Rockhold up to a big knockout loss to Bisping and if he learned his lesson he would never do that again.

If he didn’t learn his lesson he would look at Branch as an easy win and open himself up for another big loss.

The fight started out looking very familiar for Rockhold as Branch began pressuring and landed some big shots.

It looked like Rockhold was going to fall victim to his confidence again but his chin stood strong and he didn’t go out.

It wasn’t until the second round when Rockhold began making the fight his taking the fight to the ground.

Eventually, Rockhold got Branch’s back and began landing some big strikes of his own with Branch having little recourse for any of them.

He continued to unload until Branch finally tapped out due to the strikes giving Rockhold the win and avoiding a big loss.

Branch looked great at the start but eventually, it was clear that he didn’t have the same skill level of Rockhold.

For Rockhold, the goal is clear as he wants that title loss back and he wants to make the march towards that title again.

He won’t get a title shot right away as Georges St. Pierre will fight Bisping for the title on November 4 for the middleweight title.

He won’t be far off though as another fight could put him right in a title fight where he will look to take back his title.

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