When Alexander Gustafsson called out Luke Rockhold earlier this week, it both surprised and intrigued a large portion of the fanbase.
Certainly, there is a backstory to go with it. Rockhold is appearing closer than ever to a move up from middleweight to light heavyweight, especially after both an apparent grueling weight cut and a loss to Yoel Romero that seems to have ruled him out of title contention at 185-pounds.
Add to that the fact that Daniel Cormier, Rockhold’s teammate and light heavyweight champion, is moving up to heavyweight and leaving his own weight class behind for a moment — a fact that has obviously irritated the Swede — and you have a nice rivalry brewing.
The problem is, it’s something of an unwritten rule in mixed martial arts that you should avoid calling out those in divisions below your own. And while the intention might have been shrewed, it’s a bit odd timing for Gustafsson to make the challenge when Rockhold was unconscious on the canvas just a few days before.
Certainly, Cormier didn’t find the call out worthy of anything but scorn.
Nice timing Alexander(kick him while he’s down huh). I got a better idea tho he doesn’t fight you next. He fights Robert Whitaker, I mean sometimes that happens right. You lose your way into a title shot! #thegustafsonway
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) February 15, 2018
Cormier took to his social media to respond to Gustafsson, writing “Nice timing Alexander (kick [Luke] while he’s down huh). I got a better idea though he doesn’t fight you next. He fights Robert Whitaker, I mean sometimes that happens right. You lose your way into a title shot!”
Cormier is, of course, referencing the fact that Gustafsson actually fought Cormier for the world title on the back of a brutal loss to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.
It seems this one has a little more life in it yet.