Luke Rockhold still intends to go up to light heavyweight according to his Instagram story. No tiramisu on the table though with the other four desserts. pic.twitter.com/iZC3znvmyT
— Justin Golightly (@SecretMovesMMA) February 22, 2018
Even before his loss to Yoel Romero, Luke Rockhold was letting the MMA media know that he’ll be moving up to light heavyweight. His friend and training partner Daniel Cormier is leaving the division to fight UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, then before March 2019 he’ll be retiring. That coupled with the cuts getting harder, gives Rockhold a path into the new weight class. He recently not-so-subtly teased the jump again on his Instagram story, signing the numbers of the division with his hand before showing the camera four desserts.
“I’ve got a great team around me with [George] Lockhart and [Dan] Leith, they’ve got my nutrition down to a science. I’m ahead of schedule this time around and I’ll be fine, but 205 [pounds] is imminent. [Daniel Cormier is] moving up to heavyweight. He’s not coming back, so I’ll be up there soon. Yes, I’ve mentioned that [to him] many times [that I’m moving to light heavyweight]. It’s imminent. I’ll be up there soon.” – Luke Rockhold after the UFC 221 open workouts.
He won’t have to worry about an opponent welcoming him to the division. If everyone else didn’t jump at the chance to try and get a win over Luke Rockhold, former Cormier opponent and two-time lightweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson already wants a crack at him. No question Rockhold would get a big name right off the bat when he does decide to move up, although Gustafsson is a tough test for anybody at 205. However, big risks reap big rewards. We’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out.
“Luke Rockhold, your teammate is holding my division hostage and you think there are only easy fights at light heavyweight? If you think [Yoel] Romero hits hard, then wait till you come to the big boys. I want Daniel Cormier, and knocking you out will keep me warm in the meantime. Beware of coming up in weight because I will be standing at the front door waiting.”— Alexander Gustafsson via his official Instagram.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/22/2018.