Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has been long rumored to make an eventual move up to 205 pounds.
While Rockhold has yet to officially fight at light heavyweight, the change seems more likely than ever now that Jon Jones has reclaimed his 205-pound belt with a TKO win over Alexander Gustafsson last month at UFC 232.
Jones has a storied past with Rockhold’s long-time teammate and current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, so the chance to get revenge on “Bones” has to be on Rockhold’s mind.
“I’m moving up to get after him,” Rockhold recently told TMZ Sports (shown above). “That’s what I’m here for.”
Rockhold, 34, has struggled over his past few fights. After losing his middleweight title to Michael Bisping back in 2016 Rockhold had to shake off an early scare against David Branch to lock down a rebound TKO win. That success didn’t last long as Yoel Romero knocked Rockhold out at UFC 221 last year in an interim middleweight title fight (only Rockhold was eligible to win the belt).
Considering Rockhold hasn’t been able to harness the same dominance at 185 pounds that he did from 2014-2015, in which he finished five-straight fights including a title victory over then champion Chris Weidman, the veteran seems happy to take his chances at light heavyweight.
“The last couple years, I’ve been compromising myself so much to get down to ’85, and my body just falls apart in training camp the last few weeks,” Rockhold said. “(Being at 205) just feels right. I feel healthy. I feel comfortable, and I’m excited to take down these light heavyweights. I just don’t see a lot there.”
While Rockhold is confident in his abilities to produce worthy results as a member of the light heavyweight roster, he also understands that he isn’t going to walk into a title fight with Jones. Instead, despite the lack of depth at 205 pounds, Rockhold will do what he can to show he belongs.
“I’ll come prove myself,” he proclaimed.
As for a fight with Jones, Rockhold believes his fighting style matches up well with that of “Bones.” Jones may be a bit bigger, but Rockhold likes his chances.
“I thought he looked beatable,” Rockhold said of Jones’ UFC 232 performance. “He’s good on the feet. He’s tactical. He adjusts, and he fights to his advantages. I like my advantages vs. his.”
Even if Jones ends up defending his light heavyweight title against rising contender Anthony Smith he should still take notice of Rockhold’s divisional arrival (whenever that happens to be). In case “Bones” is overlooking the former UFC champion, Rockhold delivered the following message to the 205-pound king:
“Hold tight – I’m coming, Princess.”