Rockhold: Bisping vs. GSP "100 percent cheapens the belt"

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is still waiting for his next opponent. Ed Mulholland for ESPN

For the first time in nearly six months, Luke Rockhold's left knee feels healthy enough to throw kicks at 100 percent.

And yet, he has no idea when he'll fight next -- and says he's willing to sit out longer if he doesn't get the right fight.

Rockhold (15-3) is one of several UFC middleweights fed up with the state of the division. Since Michael Bisping won the title by knocking Rockhold out at UFC 199 in June, Bisping has made one defense against the now-retired Dan Henderson. Next he'll face Georges St-Pierre, who hasn't fought in three years.

Speaking to ESPN.com, Rockhold, 32, says he'd like to return from a partially torn ACL this summer, but he's having a hard time getting up for a fight when it feels as if a win won't improve his career.

"This [title] fight they made 100 percent cheapens the belt," Rockhold said. "I understand what they're doing, trying to sell pay-per-views to pay off a $4 billion debt. But this is not the fight to make.

"What's the point of fighting the best guys in the world if you're not going anywhere? I'll only take a fight that gets me somewhere and gets me excited. I love fighting and I've got a lot left in me, but it's got to be worth it. I think everyone is falling into that same realm. All the top guys are feeling the same way."

The San Jose native says he recently accepted an offer from the UFC to fight Anderson Silva on June 3, but Silva's camp told ESPN.com that it's looking at other options.

Rockhold isn't opposed to fighting fighters like Gegard Mousasi, Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza or Robert Whittaker -- but, again, he wonders how that would benefit him. Even if he were to win impressively, it would be difficult to leapfrog Yoel Romero, who has won eight in a row.

"If I'm going to fight a tough guy, I want the guy that's going to get me [to a title]. And who knows what that is," Rockhold said. "If I fight Jacare, there's no guarantee because you have Yoel looming out there.

"Really, you almost have to put an interim title on the line to guarantee a title shot. The interim title is basically just a guarantee that you get a title shot and the money behind it. If they want to put an interim belt on the line, I'll go fight [Romero] right now."

UFC president Dana White has already said he won't create an interim middleweight title, because the defending champion is actively taking fights. Rockhold's reaction to White's statement was, "Bisping is not really fighting. Let's be real here."

Before suffering his stunning defeat to Bisping, Rockhold had become a mainstay on pound-for-pound lists. Less than one year later, the wackiness of his division could persuade him to take a self-prescribed break.

Fighting out of American Kickboxing Academy, Rockhold is quite confident there are still plenty of big fights in his future -- and has even stated he'd move up to heavyweight to settle a personal score with former champion Fabricio Werdum. But until those big fights come, Rockhold says he won't be fighting at all.

"It sucks because they are punishing MMA and punishing this division," Rockhold said. "Nobody wants to see Michael Bisping as champion. Make him fight and go back to what built this company: The best fight the best.

"I'm making enough money outside the sport. I don't need to jump back in. I've got things on my plate and I've got a lot of money to do it. I don't need to be forced to fight. That's how they kind of structured it. They starve guys a little bit, so they have to come back hungry. I need something to get me hungry. I love fighting but I need the right fights to feed that hunger."