Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold announced earlier this year; he is planning a move to the light heavyweight division.
Rockhold (16-4) who is coming off a TKO loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. Now the dust is settling, however, Rockhold doesn’t see much left at 185 pounds. Luke already set his sights on two-time title contender Alexander Gustafsson
The tension between Gustafsson and Rockhold began to increase in February when Alexander called out Rockhold following his knockout loss to Romero at UFC 221. Since then both have been trading barbs on social media.
The part-time model and former champ spoke to Submission radio in a recent interview, where he said a fight with “The Mauler” would be a huge draw and believes if he beat him that would make him champion: (Quotes Via BloodyElbow)
“There’s a lot of interest in the fight. He’s a guy that’s been right there, that’s only lost to champions. He’s the top, he’s the cream of the crop in the division,” Rockhold said. “You beat him, you basically are the champion. The only problem is that DC is the champion. So, what? I go fight Alexander Gustafsson when DC is fighting for the heavyweight title?”
“I’m not gonna fight Gustafsson for nothing, and I’m not gonna put myself in the position where it creates a weird moment for me and DC. So, I think it all depends on what happens with this fight with him and Stipe. If that goes forward, yeah, I mean, I’ll fight Gustafsson.”
“But once you beat Gustafsson if DC’s out – If I beat Gustafsson, I should be the f—ng champion (laughs),” he continued. “Just realistically. And I mean, if you think about it, he is the man to beat, other than DC. And so the whole division is in a weird space. It’s almost similar to how the middleweight division was. I guess it’s a little tied up at the moment. You kind of have to wait and see to what happens in July.”
Rockhold said, he has more powerful tools in his arsenal and feels if this fight happens he has more advantage, no matter where the fight goes.
“I have a lot of weapons that would work against him,” Rockhold said of Gustafsson. “I’m gonna have a lot more weight throwing around. I’m a lot more powerful when I’m up in weight, and I can change the fight in many ways. And I don’t think there’s any way that Gustafsson will want to tangle with me on the ground.”
“I mean, I could go back to my style of pushing guys into a realm where they’re uncomfortable,” he continued. “And when I have the weight to do it I can really dictate the pace of the fight. Sucking all that weight off, it kind of takes away from some of my advantages in the fight.”
“So I can really push the pace of the fight, I can wrestle better, the hits are heavier, I have more power in my hands and feet. There are a lot of things I can attack with Gustafsson. He’s a big body and there’s a lot of ways to attack him.”
Since former champ, Jon Jones is currently dealing with legal troubles, so Luke Rockhold knows how to play his cards.
At the moment, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is challenging heavyweight kingpin Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 this July, so he is out of picture temporarily.
So the only fight that makes sense for Alexander Gustafsson who scored a fifth-round knockout against Glover Teixeira this past May is to lock horns with Rockhold.