Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is looking to make a big change to his pro-MMA career.
That change is to move up a weight class. Rockhold is coming off a devastating loss to Yoel Romero in the main event of UFC 221 last month in Australia.
If you recall, Rockhold was originally slated to fight Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title at the event.
However, the promotion had to make changes to the card once Whittaker pulled out with an injury. Thus, the UFC booked Rockhold vs. Romero for the interim title.
Rockhold told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he plans to leave the middleweight division and move up to light heavyweight.
“I don’t see me coming back, man,” Rockhold said of middleweight. “The weight cut is too much on me. As you get older, your bones get bigger. The last couple cuts have been pretty brutal on me.
I had trouble regulating my body temperature and all that shit. It’s not fun. It’s not a fun cut anymore. I’m a different fighter at 205. That weight cut is taking a lot out of me.”
“We had to make weight and stress out through the staging process like the old days,” Rockhold said. “It’s not the best situation. We stayed depleted for a number of hours. … I was pretty upset by that whole process.”
Rockhold believes that he can have fresh fights at 205. He also doesn’t have to worry about fighting his teammate UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in the near future as he is slated to fight UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 in July and retiring next year.
Rockhold does have a name in mind to fight, which is former title contender Alexander Gustafsson. There is some history between these two fighters as Gustafsson has said a fight with Rockhold would “keep me warm” while he’s waiting for Cormier.
“I like it,” Rockhold said. “I think it was petty coming after me so early (after the knockout loss). I don’t know if he was trying to get under DC’s skin, but I’ll be coming. I’ll be coming to 205. Im gonna handle my business and you better be sure I’m coming for that ass, too.”