Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold looks set to test the waters at 205-pounds.
Despite currently being ranked as the number two fighter in the official divisional rankings at middleweight, a February defeat to Yoel Romero has placed him on the periphery of challengers to Robert Whittaker’s championship and now with Daniel Cormier unlikely to ever fight again at light heavyweight, that leaves the path clear for his AKA stablemate to begin an assault at the title.
Rockhold was slated to rematch Chris Weidman inside Madison Square Garden in November but a niggling injury removed him from the bout, prompting him to tell Submission Radio that he thinks he pushed himself too hard to return from injury, as well as revealing his light heavyweight plans.
“I think I rushed into the fight at Madison Square Garden,” Rockhold said. “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 re-injured 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.”