Although from Luke Rockhold’s perspective, his Octagon debut versus Vitor Belfort was memorable for all the wrong reasons, that doesn’t change the fact that the former Strikeforce champ is a ridiculously talented fighter. Case in point, the defeat ended a nine fight win streak for Rockhold, which included victories over Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. The 28 year-old fighter currently holds the #7 ranking in the UFC middleweight division.

In a recent interview with MMA, Rockhold conceded that the loss to Beflort was “hard to accept” but that he’s ready to “move on.” On that note, Rockhold relayed that he would like to fight alongside AKA teammate Cain Velasquez at UFC 166, when he takes on Junior dos Santos in their rubber match.

“I’m fairly healthy – I’ve got some things I’m working through from the last training camp and trying to nurse myself back. I know I need to perform this next fight, so I want to give myself the best opportunity to do that. But I want to fight a top contender, too. Cain’s fighting Oct. 19. My birthday’s Oct. 17. That’s good timing. I’d love to have a birthday present and fight a top guy and get myself back in the mix. Texas is awesome, and I’d love to go there and fight and train with my teammate.”

Rockhold didn’t cite any fighter specifically in terms of an opponent (although not long ago he called out Michael Bisping, but the British fighter quickly shot down the idea), and most of the division’s top ten contenders are currently booked. Still, considering Rockhold’s position and abilities, chances are the UFC will match him up with an established fighter in his next outing.