Luke Rockhold has been saying for a while now that his time at middleweight was coming to a close, and now the former UFC champ has announced he’s moving up to light-heavyweight.
Back in February, before Rockhold was taken out by Yoel Romero at UFC 221, the well rounded fighter said a move to 205 was “imminent”.But, following that defeat, Rockhold was booked to take on Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in November, before an injury forced him to withdraw. That fight had been slated for 185.
Well, more recently Rockhold spoke with Submission Radio, and while doing so, he confirmed his next fight will be at light-heavyweight. In addition, the outspoken fighter had this to say about the state of the division and his plans for 205 (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I’ve been killing myself for many years now trying to make that weight. It makes me less of a fighter. I’m ready to move on and I’m ready to light these guys up. You’ve got guys making waves at light heavyweight that are somewhat laughable, you know? Couple of middleweight washouts reaching into the top 10 within a few fights, it’s… the division is open, I’m ready to feast.”
“Anthony Smith, yeah. I mean, what, (Thiago) Santos came up just recently too. These guys, I’m just not impressed,” Rockhold continued, while referring to the former middleweights, who have moved up to 205 and scored some pivotal victories. “Not impressed with these guys. 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.”
There you have it. It will be interesting to see who the UFC matches Rockhold up against first. Due to the fact Rockhold is a former champ, you would think the UFC will book him against a top-ranked 205’er. Chances are there’s interest in seeing him fight Smith or Santos actually. If you’re wondering, Smith has moved into the #3 spot at 205 on account of his recent run, while Santos is now #7.
Rockhold also reported that he’s eyeing March for next fight, so that timeline might work well for bouts with either of the aforementioned fighters. Jan Blachowicz could also be an option? Who is riding a four-fight winning streak and is ranked #4.