Luke Rockhold Believes UFC Light Heavyweight Division Is ‘For The Taking’

Luke Rockhold believes the UFC’s light heavyweight division is wide open.

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Luke Rockhold believes the UFC’s light heavyweight division is “for the taking” at the moment.

The ex-UFC middleweight champ has struggled at 185 pounds as of late. He has lost two of his last three matches by way of knockout. The Californian captured the middleweight championship in December of 2015 due to a brutal streak of wins.

Rockhold finished Chris Weidman via fourth-round TKO to hand “The All American” the first loss of his career. In his first title defense several months later, Rockhold was upset by Michael Bisping via first-round knockout.

After a year-long layoff, Rockhold returned to action in September of last year and finished David Branch in the second round. Soon after, Rockhold was therefore granted an interim middleweight championship opportunity.

He fought Yoel Romero in the main event of UFC 221 in February. Unfortunately for Rockhold, he couldn’t withstand the Cuban’s hellacious knockout power. He was finished in the third round by “The Soldier Of God.”

After failing to recapture the 185-pound title, Rockhold began contemplating a jump up to 205 pounds. He was in discussions for a possible fight with Alexander Gustafsson before a nasty injury halted those talks.

Return To Middleweight

Now, Rockhold is set to make his Octagon return in November, still at middleweight. He’ll rematch Weidman at UFC 230 in New York in a pivotal middleweight affair. The winner will absolutely be back in the 185-pound title discussion because of the stakes involved.

There’s just no guarantee Rockhold even makes it back to the middleweight fray.

Win or lose to Weidman, Rockhold may decide to finally up to 205 pounds, meanwhile. If he does, he likes his chances based on the current state of the class. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Rockhold said he believes the UFC light heavyweight division is “for the taking.”

“I like the light heavyweight division – I think it’s for the taking. ‘DC,’ the complication with him – he’s tossing and turning. I just want the thing to really solidify itself and iron it out; I want a matchup – I want a sexy matchup, and I want to get up there and I want to do some damage, and I want it to mean something.”

Above all, Rockhold doesn’t want to fight just anyone when he does move up:

“I don’t want to have to fight the best guy in the division in Alexander Gustafsson and have to backtrack if ‘DC’ doesn’t fight and I have to fight someone else lower – what’s the (expletive) point?

Better Fighter At Light Heavyweight

Rockhold knows he’d be a much better fighter at 205 pounds due to the draining cut down to 185.

There’s just one problem.

One of his best friends and training partners, Daniel Cormier, is the division’s champion. Rockhold has so much respect for “DC,” he doesn’t want to step on the double champ’s toes:

“I know I’m a lot better fighter at 205 and I could do a lot of damage,” Rockhold said. “There’s a certain amount of respect, and ‘DC’ is my brother. We came from the (expletive) very beginning together.

“I’m not going to step on his toes. I’m going to let him close out the way he wants to. I’ve got plenty of time. I’m training, I’m healthy, getting healthy – I’m nearly there. We’ll see what’s up. Madison Square Garden is very appealing.

“I like that stage – I’ve always wanted to fight there. I’ve got to get the right matchup and we’ll see what comes to be.”

Seems like the former UFC and Strikeforce champion is ready for a new challenge in his career. He’s also making some big money outside of the cage, so the UFC will have to pony up.

They apparently did so last week and Rockhold is back as a result. Will he soon return to glory because of it?

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Jon Jones Makes Interesting Claim About USADA Status

Jon Jones’ latest comments about his dealings with USADA

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Jon Jones makes an interesting claim about how things are going for him while dealing with USADA and their drug testing program.

Jones failed an in-competition drug test for Turinabol at UFC 214 after he beat Daniel Cormier by third-round TKO in the main event in July of 2017 in Anaheim, California. This allowed him to regain the title. However, as a result of that failed drug test, he was stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title. He was also removed from the official UFC rankings.

If you recall, back in February, it was revealed that the CSAC revoked Jones’ MMA license and fined him $205,000. Many considered that this hearing that would determine Jones’ fate as a result of this drug test. Now, he’s waiting to hear the decision made by USADA.

Reality Of Situation

The former UFC light heavyweight champion has stayed quiet about the topic while letting his manager do all of the interviews. However, he recently commented on the ongoing situation where he clarified what a fan said. Which was if he was still in the testing pool.

Fans went on the USADA testing database last week where they noticed Jones hadn’t been tested at all in 2018. However, that all changed once a single test appeared in Q3 of 2018 for Jones. This led to speculation from fans that he removed himself from the pool like Brock Lesnar has done in the past.

By looking at the USADA rulebook, it states that anyone removing themselves from the program has to spend six months being tested before returning to the cage. Jones made it known on Twitter that he never left the testing pool.

Jon Jones Makes Comment

“Glad you enjoyed the few seconds of training footage I shared the other day. Just wanted to let everyone know, I never left the testing pool, not even for a day.”

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Jon Jones Teases Comeback Unlike ‘Anything You’ve Ever Seen’

Jon Jones is hinting at an absolutely massive UFC return.

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It’s that time of year when Jon Jones teases his latest MMA comeback.

The troubled MMA legend has been on the sidelines since last August. Jones tested positive for anabolic steroid Turinabol prior to his UFC 214 win over Daniel Cormier. The failure was his second such infraction under the UFC’s current anti-doping program.

Precious little information about his case with USADA has been revealed since. Rumors have been swirling he will return soon, however, due to him getting off with a one-year suspension. Jones is fueling those rumors with a passion.

“Bones” recently tweeted about his journey. He promised fans they have never seen what is coming next:

Every part of the journey matters. Triumphs and setbacks all combine to make the climb what it is supposed to be. My feet are dug in and I have clear motivation as to what I’m going after and why. I promise you’ve never seen anything like what’s coming

Jones has been rumored to be returning to face longtime rival Alexander Gustafsson at November’s UFC 230. None of that has been confirmed due to his ongoing issues with USADA.

Jones is still considered to be MMA’s greatest fighter by many. He remains the only man to defeat current UFC double champion Daniel Cormier.

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Volkan Oezdemir Destroyed Anthony Smith’s UFC Sao Paulo Suggestion

Volkan Oezdemir has “No Time” for Anthony Smith’s other plans.

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Volkan Oezdemir destroyed Anthony Smith’s offer to fill in for Glover Teixeira.

Teixeira was ruled out of his UFC Sao Paulo headliner with Jimi Nanuwa last night. He could require surgery due to a shoulder injury. The former title contender is out for an indefinite amount of time as a result.

Streaking contender Anthony Smith soon offered to fill in for Teixeira and face Manuwa:

No. 2 LHW Volkan Oezdemir took offense to the suggestion because of the fact he’s supposed to fight “Lionheart” in the main event of October’s UFC Moncton.

“No Time” took to social media to voice his displeasure. The former title contender put it in simple terms as well:

UFC Sao Paulo will take place on September 22, 2018. The UFC is currently looking for a replacement opponent to fight Manuwa. The British slugger reportedly already turned down a fight with Brazilian middleweight Thiago Santos.

Oezdemir will meet Smith in the main event of UFC Moncton slightly over a month later on October 27, 2018. Oezdemir has been out of action since he lost a title bid to current champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 this January. A broken nose forced him out of a scheduled fight with top contender Alexander Gustafsson at August 4’s UFC 227.

Meanwhile, Smith has been on a tear, knocking out former champions Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua in his last two fights.

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Report: ‘Serious’ Injury Kept Alexander Gustafsson Off UFC 227

Alexander Gustafsson’s injury was more serious than initially revealed.

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The injury that kept Alexander Gustafsson off last weekend’s UFC 227 was apparently more serious than first revealed.

“The Mauler’s” original opponent Volkan Oezdemir pulled out of their scheduled main card bout. Anthony Smith soon knocked out Shogun Rua in Hamburg and immediately called out Gustafsson as a late replacement.

Gustafsson was forced out with a ‘minor’ undisclosed injury shortly thereafter, however. More than a bit of speculation arose based on the timing.

UFC President Dana White recently refuted those claims. Speaking on “The Mauler” during the ‘UFC Unfiltered’ podcast (via MMAjunkie), White said Gustafsson was seriously hurt:

“It wasn’t a minor injury; he actually had a serious injury to his hamstring. He doesn’t have to do surgery. He’s doing physical therapy, and we’re hoping he can come back before the end of the year. He was hurt, a legitimate injury, and he’s working on it. We’re trying to get him in before the end of the year.”

Gustafsson has long campaigned for a rematch with UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. The two met in a classic five-round war in 2015, where Cormier emerged with a narrow split decision win.

His main goal is an understandable one with Cormier set to retire next year. Gustafsson has been out of action since a thrilling fifth-round knockout of Glover Teixeira in May 2017 and has never been the most consistent of fighters.

Gustafsson is obviously recovering from a significant injury, but one thing he has going for him is that Cormier is injured too.

Time will tell if “The Mauler” receives the title shot he’s been angling for.

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Thiago Santos Reveals he Was Offered UFC 227 Bout With Alexander Gustafsson

Thiago Santos reveals he accepted a bout at UFC 227 with Alexander Gustafsson. Santos will instead go one-on-one with Kevin Holland. Gustafsson was scheduled to take on Volkan Oezdemir tomorrow night (Aug. 4). Oezdemir went down with a broken nose. Fre…

Thiago Santos reveals he accepted a bout at UFC 227 with Alexander Gustafsson. Santos will instead go one-on-one with Kevin Holland. Gustafsson was scheduled to take on Volkan Oezdemir tomorrow night (Aug. 4). Oezdemir went down with a broken nose. Fresh off his first-round destruction over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Anthony Smith expressed interest in a […]

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