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UFC 221’s Luke Rockhold says move to light heavyweight is ‘imminent’

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Whether or not Luke Rockhold is able to defeat Yoel Romero later tonight (Sat., Feb. 10, 2018) at UFC 221 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Perth Arena in Perth, Australia, to capture his second UFC middleweight championship, the California native still believes a move up to light heavyweight will one day become a reality.

Rockhold has been teasing a move to 205 pounds for a few years now, but has become more and more open to the idea as his cut down to middleweight becomes more difficult. After all, Rockhold is a hulking 185-pound fighter who has the frame, strength, and athleticism to test his ability one weight class up.

“It never gets any easier. I’m getting older and my bones are getting thicker and it gets harder to get down to this weight,” said Rockhold following UFC 221’s open workouts earlier this week (shown above courtesy of Submission Radio).

“Having this open workout on a Friday, it’s tough. But I feel good. I’ve got a great team around me. Lockhart and Leith have got nutrition down to a science. I’m ahead of schedule and I’ll be fine, but 205 is imminent.

“DC is moving up to heavyweight. He’s not coming back, so I’ll be up there soon.”

While Romero ended up missing weight yesterday (Fri., Feb. 9, 2018) at UFC 221’s official weigh ins (full results here), Rockhold came in on the button at 185 pounds. He certainly looked depleted and out of sorts during his post-weigh ins interview (shown below), but the former UFC champion was still able to successfully make weight.

If current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is able to knock off UFC heavyweight king Stipe Miocic later this year at UFC 226 then it’s likely he never returns to the 205-pound landscape. That would clear a big path for Rockhold to move up and finally make a run at light heavyweight.

For now, Rockhold will have his hands full with a heavier-than-usual Romero this weekend in Perth. If Rockhold is unable to get past “Soldier of God” and capture the interim middleweight strap then his eventual light heavyweight debut may lose a little pop.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 221 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.