Luke Rockhold’s official UFC return is unknown, but he’s inserting himself into the light heavyweight title picture nonetheless. He recently said he was coming for ‘princess’ Jon Jones when he finally ditches the draining weight cut to middleweight.
We all know that Jones’ arch-rival is Daniel Cormier, Rockhold’s close friend and longtime training partner. Talk of a third fight between Jones and Cormier has run rampant since “Bones” won the UFC 205-pound title back by beating Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232. Jones won’t move up to heavyweight where Cormier is currently the champ, however. It’s unlikely that Cormier, in turn, cuts back down to light heavyweight to face Jones in what could be the last year of his MMA career.
Their trilogy fight was also further put on the backburner when it was revealed Jones will face rising star Anthony Smith at March’s UFC 235. According to Rockhold on today’s episode of The MMA Hour, that’s a cop-out. He believes Jones and Cormier walk around at roughly the same weight and should, therefore, fight at heavyweight. If not, well, he’s coming for Jones at 205 pounds:
“Jones walks around 240 and ‘DC’ walks around 240, fight where you are,
Doesn’t Want To Fight DC?
Rockhold claims Jones doesn’t want to fight Cormier at heavyweight anyway. In his mind, Jones is compensating for something by testing positive for steroids. That all boils down to Jones being less than confident he could topple Cormier at heavyweight, where he’s much more powerful:
“Jones does not want that fight. He doesn’t want a fight with ‘DC’ at heavyweight. He doesn’t want to give him any confidence. He’s obviously taken what he can to build his confidence to fight him at light h
“Picograms, or whatever the hell they are. He is obviously compensating for something trying to build himself up. ‘DC’ at heavyweight is a much more dangerous fighter; he’s looser, moving people, I’ve seen him in the gym. Jones picked his words wisely on trying to bait ‘DC’ on trying to come back down.”
Jones may indeed attempt to bait ‘DC’ back down to light heavyweight, and it may work based on the long history the two all-time greats share with one another. That will have to wait until Jones fights Smith and Cormier potentially fights Brock Lesnar, making the resolution of their rivalry incredibly unclear right now.
They may never fight again if Jones truly won’t move up to heavyweight. Based on how Rockhold performs at 205, that could actually help him out in a way. But he’s got a lot of work to do, even if he’s doing quite a good job of laying the groundwork for that rivalry.