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Luke Rockhold targets ‘princess’ Jon Jones, likes how they match up stylistically

Luke Rockhold
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting file photo

Luke Rockhold thinks he can accomplish something his longtime teammate Daniel Cormier failed to do on two occasions.

Beat Jon Jones.

A former UFC middleweight champion, Rockhold is poised to make a move to the light heavyweight division and he told TMZ that he’s not intimidated by Jones, who recently made his return from a second drug-test suspension at UFC 232. There, Jones defeated Alexander Gustafsson by third-round TKO to capture his third UFC title (including one interim belt) and improve his pro record to 23-1 (1 NC).

That one loss on Jones’s record was a dubious disqualification back in 2009 and Rockhold thinks he could be the first man to truly defeat “Bones”.

“I thought he looked beatable,” Rockhold. “He’s good on the feet, he’s tactical, Jon, he adjusts and he fights to his advantages. I like my advantages versus his. He’s great, he’s good everywhere, but I don’t think he’s the most technical on the feet. I don’t think he’s got the most power.

“I’m a different man at this weight, the power behind me. I’m moving up to get after him, so that’s what I’m here for.”

Rockhold was then asked how his fighting style compares to Jones’s and he expressed confidence in the matchup.

“Look, I like it. I’ll come up, prove it,” Rockhold said. “I’ll pick off somebody, you’ll see my next fight. It will be a top fight and I’ll come prove myself.”

The 34-year-old Rockhold is 6-3 in the UFC’s middleweight division, with two of his last three outings ending in knockout losses. Prior to that, he had finishes of Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, and Michael Bisping (the latter of whom would win the 185-pound title from Rockhold in their rematch) and Rockhold believes that moving up to a more natural weight class will put him in the hunt for another championship.

“Health-wise I’m finally back to health, it feels good to fight at my natural weight,” Rockhold said. “The last couple of years, I’ve been compromising myself to get down to ‘85 and my body just falls apart in training camp the last few weeks to get your body fat so low. I’ve never felt so bad at my last fight during the weight cut.

“So it feels right, I feel healthy, I feel comfortable, I’m excited to take down these light heavyweights. I just don’t see a lot there.”

Rockhold closed out his interview with a message for Jones.

“Just hold tight,” Rockhold said. “I’m coming, princess.”

See the full interview below, in which Rockhold also discusses the role Cormier would play in preparing to fight Jones: