Coach Mendez Reveals Luke Rockhold Jumped the Cage and Ran Away During a Sparring Session With Cain Velasquez

Published 08/07/2021, 3:09 PM EDT
NEWARK, NJ – APRIL 18: Luke Rockhold prepares to fight against Lyoto Machida of Brazil in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Prudential Center on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)


Former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold is a veteran and one of the few to hold championships in various promotions. The American, who has been part of some splendid matches in his career, never shied away from picking a fight or a sparring session with anyone. Or did he?

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Javier Mendez, the AKA Academy founder, and the one to train many UFC champions, revealed a fighter, who Rockhold didn’t want to have a sparring session. He is none other than former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.

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In an interview, the former professional kickboxer said, “Let me tell you something. There is only one time Luke Rockhold ever ran (from a fight). We put him there to spar Cain Velasquez. (And) He didn’t wanna spar Cain… and he goes (like), ‘No, I don’t wanna spar’… And Luke didn’t wanna get in there with Cain.”

The coach further added, “he got in there with Cain. Luke was doing really, really good. But Cain can put so much pressure on him that Luke could get tired. Luke, because he didn’t wanna do it, Luke literally jumped (off) the cage and ran (away).”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 11: Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez attends a WWE news conference at T-Mobile Arena on October 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Velasquez will face WWE champion Brock Lesnar and WWE wrestler Braun Strowman will take on heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury at the WWE’s Crown Jewel event at Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 31. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Well, one can’t go against Rockhold here. Velasquez is probably the last fighter anyone wants to spar with. The former 2-time heavyweight champ had some glorious moments inside the octagon whether it was his first-round knockout over Brock Lesnar or multiple matches with Junior dos Santos. Unfortunately, his career was filled with injuries and surgeries.

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Apart from Rockhold and Velasquez, the AKA academy also boasts of alumni like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier.

Luke Rockhold gearing up to face Sean Strickland

After months of desperation, Rockhold will finally return to the octagon against Sean Strickland. The expected bout will take place at UFC 268 in November.

Rockhold last fought against the current light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz. The Polish power machine demolished the former via knockout in round 2.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 31: Sean Strickland reacts after his victory over Jack Marshman of Wales in a middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Meanwhile, Strickland is fresh from his recent victory against Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Strickland. The American overpowered Hall en route to a unanimous decision win in the main event.

Both the fighters have already started trading verbal shots over social media platforms. It will be interesting to see how they build up the fight before the culmination.

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Who do you think will have the last laugh?

WATCH THIS STORY: 5 unknown facts about UFC president Dana White

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

552 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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