surpassed Yoel Romero this week when the official UFC rankings release was posted Wednesday evening. Rockhold now sits at the No. 2 spot in the middleweight divison behind only champion Michael Bisping and No. 1-ranked interim champion Robert Whittaker.
Rockhold defeated No. 9-ranked David Branch by second-round TKO at Fight Night Pittsburgh to return to the win column after 15 months of inactivity following an upset loss to Bisping, costing Rockhold the middleweight title.
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It’s no secret that Rockhold and Bisping have no love lost for each other, and Rockhold appeared on UFC Tonight Wednesday and he spoke about Bisping’s reign as champion.
“Robert Whittaker (is) the real champion. He’s the one who fights the guys,” Rockhold told hosts Daniel Cormier and Kenny Florian. “I think (Bisping’s) title reign is the worst in UFC history. No one has avoided every top contender. He was supposed to fight Jacare (Souza), he avoided that. He was supposed to fight Yoel (Romero), and he avoided that. He hasn’t done anything. I fought a guy (in David Branch) that’s four spots higher than the last guy (Dan Henderson) he fought.”
On #TUFTalk: @LukeRockhold had strong words for Michael Bisping.@Bisping’s response? https://t.co/syczHH1dPA
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 21, 2017
Bisping responded on the show by recounting his KO against Rockhold last time they met and by suggesting the No. 2-ranked fighter face Chris Weidman and “a couple of bums” to claw his way back to the top. Bisping takes on Georges St-Pierre for the UFC middleweight title at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4 at UFC 217.
In other rankings movement, Uriah Hall moved up four spots to No. 10 in the middleweight division after knocking out Krzystof Jotko in the second round of their fight in Pittsburgh. Jotko drops two spots down to No. 12 after the loss.
The bottom of the Top 15 in the welterweight division was shook up a bit by the results in Pittsburgh. Kamaru Usman knocked out Sergio Moraes in the first round of their fight and moved up one spot to No. 12 at 170 pounds. Rising star Mike Perry completed his fourth KO in the UFC out of just five fights and now makes his rankings debut at No. 15.
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Jon Jones was removed from the rankings as he goes through the process stemming from a potential anti-doping violation from an in-competition sample collected ahead of his title fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC