Before Anthony Smith fought Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 235, former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold called him out. The 34-year-old pointed to Smith’s resume to show just how easy it was to get a title shot at 205-pounds, which “Lionheart” didn’t like.
“It’s just me coming into this division, I wanted a fight, he seemed like a logical opponent,” Rockhold said on The MMAHour. “And then they trot him up and Jon picked him off as an easy fight. So [Jones] basically made the UFC take it, and I just didn’t think much of the matchup, and obviously, I don’t think the rest of the world thought much of the matchup once it happened.
“I got a problem telling the truth, so I don’t think much of him,” added Rockhold. “I don’t think he’s a credible character in the division, really. He is about to get shut down. He’s about to get it [from Gustafsson at UFC Stockholm]. He’s going to get beat up bad, back-and-back, and be put in his place, just like I said.”
If Smith does lose, as Rockhold expects, the former middleweight champion doesn’t plan on fighting him. Rather, the only way the two of them fight is if Smith can beat Gustafsson and Rockhold beats Jan Blachowicz.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense after he gets his ass beat by Gustafsson, so I’m going to focus on what’s ahead and what’s in the moment,” Rockhold said. “I’m going to go handle business and I’m going to look ahead. I never really look behind. … If he gets past Gustafsson, if he defies expectations, then that’s a fight I will definitely entertain.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com at 5/27/2019