After his defeat at UFC 221, Luke Rockhold’s ambitions have shifted towards the light heavyweight division and a fight with the champion, Jon Jones for the undisputed belt.
Rockhold recently told TMZ, “Hold tight, I’m coming, Princess.” A shot which was directed towards the current 205-pound champ. Rockhold believes he’s a different man at light heavyweight, with more power behind his hands and he’s made it clear that he wants to fight Jones. It’s the reason for wanting to move to the champ’s weight class.
With Daniel Cormier’s recent move to heavyweight, Rockhold’s move up in weight class was inevitable. Although he will most likely fight a top ranked opponent at 205-pounds to prove he’s a contender for the belt, Rockhold believes, “[Jones] he looked beatable” at UFC 232 against Alexander Gustafsson.
Here are the fights we believe would be good matchups for the former middleweight champion:
Potential matchups for Rockhold at 205-pounds
Rockhold vs Manuwa
Rockhold vs Latifi
Rockhold vs Anderson
Rockhold vs Smith
Anthony Smith is likely to get the next shot at Jones, if Daniel Cormier doesn't want his shot at the light heavyweight champion. Rockhold has recently shared his thoughts on Smith, stating he was a sloppy bum after his fight with Volkan Oezdemir at UFC New Brunswick. The trash talk already happening, so Rockhold could make a huge statement taking out the #3 ranked fighter in the division. Overall, this would be a great matchup for Smith who stands at 6' 4" and was almost knocked out by his last opponent in the Octagon.
Rockhold vs Gustafsson
Depending on if Gustafsson is ready to go, this would be an interest matchup and a quick way to the top of the division's rankings. When the talks of Rockhold moving to light heavyweight were surfacing, Gustafsson made sure the former middleweight champion knew he would be willing to welcome him to the division. If Rockhold wants a shot at Jones sooner than later, then the fight with Gustafsson is 100% the one to make next.
Rockhold vs Jones
Say what you want, but I'm all for Rockhold getting an immediate title shot if he makes the switch to light heavyweight. He's a former champion and his resume speaks for itself. The only reason this wouldn't be considered a superfight is because Rockhold isn't a champion currently. However, this has all the makings of a superfight. Both are close in height and Rockhold's experience in the Octagon could give Jones a great fight. Coming from middleweight, Rockhold could have the speed advantage in the fight and he would be okay wherever the fight went. I'm intrigued and hope we get to see this fight happen.