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Luke Rockhold Ready To Compete In UFC’s Light Heavyweight Division

Luke Rockhold is fully-invested in competing at light heavyweight.

Rockhold, a former UFC middleweight champion, was a recent guest on “Submission Radio” to discuss the move, Anthony Smith and his recovery from a leg injury.

An update on his leg and making an announcement that he will be 100% moving to 205 for his next fight

“I think I rushed into the fight at Madison Square Garden. 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 reinjured 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.”

On going to light heavyweight

That is it, that it is, man. I was ready to move up, and then they enticed me with that fight to get to Madison Square Garden and I made myself believe I can do it, but your body breaks down in camp. Everything just starts falling apart when my weight gets down further and further, and when the stress of the fight builds up my body just falls apart. So, it’s been meaning to happen for the last few years. I’ve been killing myself for many years now trying to make that weight. It makes me less of a fighter. So, I’m ready to move on and I’m ready to light these guys up. You’ve got guys making waves at light heavyweight that are somewhat laughable, you know? Couple of middleweight washouts reaching into the top 10 within a few fights, it’s… the division is open, I’m ready to feast.”

If Anthony Smith is one of the guys Luke is unimpressed with

“Anthony Smith, yeah. I mean, what, Santos came up just recently too. These guys, I’m just not impressed. Not impressed with these guys. They’re a little sloppy in so many ways and I see openings and I’m ready to move up. I mean, the rest of the division, there’s a couple of good guys up there, but I don’t see much. I’m ready to come up and I’m ready to shut it down.”

On Anthony Smith wanting a title shot next

“On what? On what basis is he? No. He looked like shit. He didn’t look good in his last fight. I’m not gonna say… he looked like a bum, truthfully.”

On having a warm-up fight before fighting for the title

“I’ve got some pretty marketable match-ups (offered from the UFC). I just gotta get healthy. When I’m healthy, when I’m cleared, then we can see who’s available, and it’s gonna be one of the very top guys.”

“I’m not messing around, I’d like one or two fights before I jump into the winner of one of those (title) fights, and so I want to get comfortable. Obviously it is moving up, I’m putting on some weight and I want to feel it out, get my body ready for it.”

“(The UFC and I) we’re going back and forth about some ideas.”

On if he was approached to possibly fight Israel Adesanya at UFC 234

“They did not. There was no talk of that whatsoever. I think they for some reason they had Anderson in their sights for that thing. Israel looks good, I like his style, but it’s… I don’t know. There’s questions to be answered about Israel. How deep is his game? But I think stylistically he’s done really well thus far?”

On if he picks Israel to beat Anderson

“Yeah.”

“We’ll see what Anderson shows up. You know, Anderson’s been popped for ‘roids twice in a row now, so you know, what Anderson’s gonna pop in this time? Is he gonna be a less or a more of a fighter? Who knows.”

If there is anything the UFC can throw at Luke to get him to keep fighting at middleweight

“Light heavyweight is it. Like I said, light heavyweight is the recipe. I’m coming. I’m coming for light heavyweight. This last camp, it really made me realize my body just rejects 185, and every time I get down, I fall apart. So, I’m a better fighter when I fight naturally and just let my body (stay at a natural weight). I was restricting my body. Everything I would eat would just, I’d blow up, so I’d have to just nibble at every damn little thing. It’s not living. So, I’m happier here and it feels right and I feel better than I’ve ever felt. So, I’m very confident moving into light heavyweight. And so, move on, move up.”

Possible timeframe for a return

“Depends. March timeframe sounds pretty good. I like the sound of that. I’m trying to do everything I can to get back in there, and so I want to rush my way in but I want to do it right. And I don’t want to have to fall out of this thing. So, I’m just waiting on the body to go, but I think March is a very realistic.”

On being on the same card as his friend DC for a possible DC/Lesnar fight

“I missed out in New York, what would be better than that? Las Vegas? Pretty damn good alternative. So, we’ll see. We’ll see. Like I said, I’m just gonna focus on myself, get healthy, and if that’s what it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Maybe we can postpone Cain and put him on there too.”

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