As one of Daniel Cormier’s main training partners, Luke Rockhold is all too familiar with “DC” nemesis and former UFC champion Jon Jones.
Rockhold has been part of American Kickboxing Academy for a very long time and has become a tremendous source of sparring and knowledge for Cormier. He’s been there through thick and thin, including Cormier’s knockout loss to Jones back at UFC 214 which was later overturned to a no contest after “Bones” failed his second United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug test.
As a fighter who has never tested positive in his professional career, Rockhold is taking a strong stance against cheaters and abusers of the USADA system. That just so happens to include Jones, who avoided a massive four-year suspension last month and is currently scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 later this year for the vacant 205-pound title.
After seeing Jones ushered back into action on the heels of a reduced 15-month suspension Rockhold doesn’t know how well he should trust USADA’s process.
“It’s a bit early,” Rockhold told reporters last week while attending UFC 229 in Las Vegas (h/t MMAjunkie). “It’s a bit early. This USADA thing is getting kind of interesting.
“I’ve been dealing with them a little bit this week. I know DC’s been dealing with them a little this week. They should choose to attack the right people.”
Rockhold believes USADA needs to crack down even more and weed out the fighters looking to take advantage of the system. It’s a difficult request considering so many fighters are crying “tainted supplements,” but the former UFC middleweight champion hopes new change comes sooner rather than later.
“When you get down to real business, these guys should be suspended for a long time,” Rockhold said. “People are learning how to cheat the system. USADA’s got to step their game up and be what they were in the beginning.
“In the beginning, it seemed like they were doing their job. Now it seems like they’re owned. It’s sad to see, but hopefully it can correct itself, and we can get on the right path.”
USADA has done some good and some bad over the past few years, but at the end of the day the process is working. Fighters are getting caught, investigations are taking place, secondary tests are being administered, and suspensions are being handed out accordingly. Some cases might seem unusual compared to others, but that’s the nature of the game.
For now, Rockhold, along with other fighters looking for a clean playing field, will have to trust that USADA does what is needed to be done, even when it comes to an all-time great like Jones.