It looks like former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is finally pulling the trigger on a jump to light heavyweight. Rockhold teased as much earlier this year but instead signed on to rematch Chris Weidman at middleweight on the UFC 230 card. Unfortunately, another injury prevented Rockhold from making the date and he was forced to pull out of the fight.
Rockhold won the UFC middleweight title in December of 2015. In his first-ever title defense against Michael Bisping the following June, Rockhold was knocked out in the first round. He bounced back a year later with a second-round TKO victory over David Branch. However, when facing Yoel Romero at UFC 221 for the interim middleweight title, the Cuban knocked Rockhold out in the third round.
Having lost two of his last three fights, a change is in order for the Californian. Speaking to “Submission Radio” recently, Rockhold revealed that he’s “done” at middleweight, and declared “it’s time to move up”:
“I think I rushed into the fight at Madison Square Garden. They really wanted that match-up with Weidman at Madison Square and I liked it a lot, and I think I just made myself believe that I could make it happen. It was far too soon for my leg. There’s just so much internal healing in the scar, and the scar is just finally sealing up over the top.
“And then there’s all the underlying issues. And it’s right on the bone, and so if I were to kick, even at this point, it’s still fairly dangerous that the whole thing could just open up like a big female wound on my shin, like an axe wound. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know how else to put it. It could be really bad, and I’m not really willing to risk a fight at this point just due to that.
“So, I’m trying to heal. I got some stem cells injected back into it. And then my knee, that really kind of took me out of the fight, it was the last thing I was kind of working around everything else, it’s a little more than I thought too. It’s a small tear of my PCL and my ACL, so I’ve been trying to work around it.
“And I reinjured and hurt it a little bit, so I just noticed that I gotta back off for at least six more weeks probably now and move up, move up and get stronger. I’m just training every day. I’m lifting, so getting stronger. Getting stronger is the recipe, light heavyweight is the course.
“I’m coming for these guys, man. I’m just not really impressed with what’s going on right now in that division and I’m tired of compromising my body. And I’m a better fighter where I fight naturally and bigger and I’m long overdue moving up and I’m done with middleweight. It’s time to move up.”
What do you think of Rockhold making the decision to move up to light heavyweight?