Recently crowned Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold might make his first title defense early in 2012.

The MMA Corner has learned that Strikeforce is targeting a middleweight title fight between Rockhold and Tim Kennedy for late January. No agreements are in place yet for the bout however, and it is dependent upon Strikeforce’s future.

Rockhold, a product of the American Kickboxing Academy, conquered six foes via first-round stoppages to earn a shot at Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza for the Strikeforce 185-pound crown. He emerged victorious from his September clash with Souza, earning a unanimous decision to claim the belt.

Kennedy has also faced Souza in a middleweight title tilt, but wound up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision in their August 2010 tussle. The former Army Special Forces sniper has since bounced back with wins over Melvin Manhoef and Robbie Lawler under the Strikeforce banner, making him a clear front runner for a shot at Rockhold’s belt.