In one of the more notable upsets of 2011, Luke Rockhold dethroned former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza via hard-fought decision.
After some uncertainty, a new deal with Showtime has secured Strikeforce's future, which will allow Rockhold to defend the belt he earned by defeating Souza. This Saturday, Rockhold's first title defense will come against former UFC fighter Keith Jardine.
Last week, Showtime caught up with Rockhold to discuss what has driven him to such a high level of success in MMA. Rockhold explained that, in addition to competing in combat sports from a young age, his lifestyle helped him to flourish in MMA.
In the main event of Strikeforce's first event of 2012, Rockhold will begin the next step in his quest to become one of the best middleweights in MMA. Considering the perception of Strikeforce since it was purchased by Zuffa, that may take awhile to accomplish, but Rockhold's head appears to be in the right place.
Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.