It’s safe to say that Anthony Smith is not a fan of Luke Rockhold. If he is, he sure has a weird way of showing it.
While Smith and Rockhold have actually never fought inside of the Octagon, their feud is quickly boiling over outside of it. “Lionheart” certainly hasn’t been innocent in his verbal exchanges with the former UFC middleweight champion, but Rockhold ultimately struck the first blow late last year when discussing Smith’s abilities at light heavyweight.
“Anthony Smith, yeah. I mean, what, (Thiago) Santos came up just recently too. These guys, I’m just not impressed,” Rockhold told Submission Radio back in December. “They’re a little sloppy in so many ways and I see openings and I’m ready to move up. I mean, the rest of the division, there’s a couple of good guys up there, but I don’t see much. I’m ready to come up and I’m ready to shut it down. [Smith] looked like sh-t. He didn’t look good in his last fight. I’m not gonna say… he looked like a bum, truthfully.”
Since those comments were made, Smith has gone on to lose to current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in his first ever UFC title shot back in March and Rockhold has announced his official move up to 205 pounds. Now that they are in the same weight class and seem to be lining themselves up for a potential showdown inside of the Octagon, Smith is turning the heat up.
“That guys a f—king piece of sh-t,” said Smith during UFC’s seasonal press conference early Friday (video replay HERE). “F—k Luke Rockhold. The first opportunity I get, I’m gonna drill a hole through Luke Rockhold’s f—king face. I promise you guys that.”
Smith, who would gladly scrap with Rockhold inside of a Walmart, is currently scheduled to fight former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson this June at UFC on ESPN+ 10. Even though a win over Gustafsson could put “Lionheart” one more win away from a rematch with Jones he’s willing to cast that aside for a grudge match with Rockhold.
“The first opportunity I get after this fight [with Gustafsson],” Smith said when asked when he’d like to fight Rockhold. “It doesn’t matter what happens. I’ll fight Luke Rockhold with one f—king leg. I’m going to beat that dude’s f—king ass.”
Rockhold, who is coming off a disappointing knockout loss to Yoel Romero back at UFC 221 last year, is currently slated to make his 205-pound debut opposite divisional staple Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239 this July, which is an event expected to be headlined by a Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos title fight. Should Rockhold get past Blachowicz and back into the UFC win column it would make complete sense for the promotion to book the grudge match with Smith.
Of course, a loss for either man would likely cancel out a potential clash inside of the cage.
What say you, Maniacs? Is Smith vs. Rockhold a matchup you want to see at 205 pounds? Who has the early advantage?