Luke Rockhold Explains Why He’s Fighting Chris Weidman, Delaying LHW Debut

Luke Rockhold Chris Weidman
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Many fans were surprised to see Luke Rockhold remain in the middleweight division. In Rockhold’s last outing, he was knocked out by Yoel Romero for the interim 185-pound title. It was Rockhold’s second knockout loss in his past four fights. After his loss to Romero, there was speculation Rockhold could jump up to light heavyweight.

In fact, he very nearly signed on to fight Alexander Gustafsson in his division debut. Unfortunately, an injury delayed those plans. Now, Rockhold has agreed to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 230 from Madison Square Garden in November. This will be a rematch from their initial meeting in December of 2015.

Rockhold defeated Weidman via fourth-round TKO back at UFC 194. He was the first man to defeat Weidman in his MMA career. In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Rockhold explained why he delayed his 205-pound debut to fight Weidman:

“Chris Weidman at Madison Square Garden. Simple enough. It’s a big fight, in a big arena, a place I’ve always wanted to go, and a perfect match-up. It’s a very fitting situation, it’s something that gets me up, it gets me excited, makes me wanna come back and drop that weight, I guess.

“And there’s a hold up in the (light heavyweight) division. Obviously I’m very close to DC and I know his standing and where he’s going and what’s going on right now, so there’s just a lot of things that need to be cleared up before I make that move and run the pond at light heavyweight. He’s an incredible fighter, man.

Rockhold vs. Weidman II

“He put away Kelvin Gastelum. People want to discredit Weidman because he’s had a couple of rough fights since we encountered, but he showed up (in) his last fight. You’re only as good as your last fight, they say, and he showed up and put Kelvin Gastelum away like nobody else could.

“He’s very relevant in the division, he’s No. 3 in the world. And so going in and putting him away again obviously just speaks volumes. It got me back down to 185 pounds. Not a lot of things would’ve brought me back here at the moment. But I’m excited. Madison Square Garden is the biggest venue in the world.

“I got the MGM down. It’s probably the two biggest venues in the world, right? I won the world title against Weidman at the MGM. Unfortunately I’m gonna have to put him away here at Madison Square Garden. It’s gonna be an epic fight.”

Who are you picking in Rockhold vs. Weidman II?