Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is coming off of a rough knockout loss to tough contender Yoel Romero. Following the loss, UFC light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson decided to call out the former champion. Now Rockhold has come forward with a response.
Following Gustafsson’s invitation to move up in weight and face him in the light heavyweight division, Rockhold has come forward to reveal his interest in taking on the MMA phenom.
Speaking to ESPN, Rockhold explained his reasoning for wanting to move to the light heavyweight division.
“I’m not too excited about making that weight cut again. I just don’t feel nearly as strong, powerful, quick. It takes a lot out of me.
“Pretty much Bisping is the only reason I would torture myself to get back there. That’s a loss that doesn’t sit well with me. I know the UFC is very interested in that fight and will pursue it on their end. If he doesn’t accept it, there’s no reason for me to stay at 185.”
“Mr. Gustafsson has reached out, opened his mouth, and that’s a fight that interests me — very much so. I like that matchup. I like every matchup at 205. There’s a lot of interesting things there, and I’m not coming to play around.”
Rockhold also offered a few words concerning his recent loss to Romero.
“I knew what I was getting into when I took this fight, but I didn’t exactly have the best weight cut. Credit to Yoel. I thought I could take advantage of certain things, and kicking his leg felt like f—ing cement. I ended up having to work around that, and he capitalized.
“That Perth commission doesn’t understand the sport. The world has changed for the better. To have the athletes weigh in on a stage, televised, it makes no sense. Holding us at weight to run us through medicals and a staging process, it lengthens the time we’re depleting ourselves. Then they’re forcing us to do interviews, it’s ridiculous.”
Talking once again on his potential move to light heavyweight, Rockhold added:
“I did a lot at that weight class. People probably don’t give me the credit I deserve for holding the Strikeforce title, but the people who do know, know.
“Compared to some other guys at 205, of course, I’ll be a little small. But I’ve never tried to just physically go for it, bulk up, lift weights. Every time I’m in training mode, I’ve had to monitor what I’m eating. I’ll break 210 and be around 215 pounds. I know what it takes to compete with the best guys at 205. I’ve trained with them.”