Luke Rockhold has yet to get a win at light heavyweight but that isn’t stopping him from taking aim at the top fighters in the division.
Over the past year, the former UFC middleweight champion has been making noise by calling out Jon Jones. He’s also had an ongoing beef with Anthony Smith, calling Smith “a talentless b*tch” and saying “Lionheart” would lose easily to Alexander Gustafsson.
Only, Smith did not. Smith ended up submitting Gustafsson with a rear-naked choked in their fight earlier this month, cementing himself at the top of the 205 pound division and sending Gustafsson off into retirement. But despite the win, Rockhold says his opinion of Smith has not changed and that Gustafsson’s lack of interest is why Smith won, not Smith’s own skill.
“It looked like he retired before that fight started, a long time before,” Rockhold told Submission Radio recently. “. . . So, I don’t know where his head’s at. His head wasn’t there, he had a family and he just… he found an easy exit in Stockholm and found a way out in the fight obviously.
“He had a great career, put up some amazing fights, pushed DC to a split decision and Jon Jones to a split decision. The guy made his mark. Good for him, good for him. But he didn’t come to fight that night, I’ll tell you that.
“My feelings have not changed whatsoever. Gus didn’t come to fight. Anybody who has any time for the sport could see that he didn’t do a damn thing in that fight and he found a way out when the opportunity presented itself. It was an easy exit for him. So, that’s that. Obviously, the guy can fight. He could fight, but he just doesn’t want it anymore.”
After the win, Smith addressed his continuing beef with Rockhold, saying that now Rockhold would need to earn a fight against him. But Rockhold has his sites set on bigger fish at the moment, though he says if those plans don’t work out Smith is certainly a possibility.
“You never know what’s to come,” Rockhold said. “I’m gonna focus on fighting Błachowicz, and I’m gonna put this man away and then I’m gonna look forward. And if there’s opportunities out there, we’ll see what’s up. You know, Jon Jones is right there, and I’m not looking to dance around too long. If there’s an opportunity and things work out and I perform and he performs, you never know, you never know. And if there’s a delay – there’s also a business side of this thing too. So, Anthony Smith could work his way in too. Anybody above me, I’m looking to make a mark on their faces.”
Speaking of Jon Jones, Rockhold’s friend and training partner, heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, is best known for his rivalry with Jones, and with DC planning to retire soon, most fans thought a third fight between DC and Jones would be in the offing. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case as Cormier is busy with his heavyweight title and Jones has shown little interest in moving up. Rockhold says this is because Jones is scared of fighting Cormier in his natural weight class.
“DC, I think it’s foolish for him to come try to challenge Jon back down,” Rockhold said. “I think Jon should have to come challenge him up for the heavyweight title. I mean, that’s where the natural weight is. Jon’s a big guy and he cuts a lot of weight too to get down. So, Jon’s scared to fight DC at heavyweight. I don’t know why DC thinks he’s gotta come back down to fight him there to prove some point. It just… it doesn’t make sense. . .
“Jon ain’t talking about fighting DC at heavyweight, he’s just kind of beating around the bush and he’s trying to bait him back down and antagonize him. So, Jon doesn’t want to fight DC at heavyweight. There’s only a few guys he wants to fight that makes sense.”
If Jones really doesn’t want to move up, that’s good news for Rockhold. Light heavyweight is barren of contenders at the moment and should he pick up a win in his next fight, Rockhold may just be able to talk himself into the next title shot. That certainly seems to be what the former middleweight champion is after.
“I’m paying attention to what’s out there and there’s not [a lot],” Rockhold said. “And there’s a lot of history with a match-up like that. I’ve been there through many training camps for Jon Jones, and been Jon Jones. So, we’ll see. I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna fight my fight, and Jon’s gotta win his fight.”
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Nicely done, Conor.
Well I’m actually going to be there this Saturday. I have a wedding July 6th in the evening. But maybe we can grab a beer and I can tell you exactly how I’m gonna whoop that ass @ufc https://t.co/kIjezU8Md1— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) June 28, 2019
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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
It will never cease to amaze me that Luke Rockhold is the best top position player in the sport and he only ever wants to throw kicks and box. That’s all I can think about when he does interviews and is like “I’m gonna be too fast for Blachowicz”. Okay, maybe. Or you might get jawed since Jan has solid boxing. Instead you should take him down and annihilate him on the floor since you’re probably the very best in the world at that. Thank you for coming to my JedTalk.
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