Luke Rockhold is set on moving up to light heavyweight.
The former middleweight champion confirmed the decision on the latest episode of the Submission Radio podcast, released on Thursday.
Rockhold, 34, was scheduled to face Chris Weidman last month at UFC 230 in a rematch of the championship bout in which Rockhold won the title, but was forced to withdraw due to a leg injury. Rockhold told Submission Radio that cutting to middleweight was a stress his body could no longer bear.
“Getting stronger’s the recipe, light heavyweight is the course,” Rockhold said. “I’m coming for these guys, man. I’m just not really impressed with what’s going on right now in the division. I’m tired of compromising my body and I’m a better fighter where I fight naturally and bigger. I’m long overdue moving up and I’m done with middleweight. It’s time to move on.”
Rockhold has fought three times since winning the title in 2015, going 1-2 with losses to Michael Bisping and Yoel Romero by knockout. He now looks to light heavyweight with a renewed confidence in fighting at a more natural weight class.
“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 ready to light these guys up. You got guys making waves at light heavyweight that – they’re somewhat laughable. Couple of middleweight washouts reaching into the top ten within a few fights. The division is open, I’m ready to feast.”
Rockhold (16-4) scoffed when asked about former middleweight Anthony Smith possibly getting the next light heavyweight title shot after picking up three consecutive wins since joining the division in June.
“On what basis? No,” Rockhold replied with a smile. “He looked like sh*t. He didn’t look good his last fight. I’m not gonna say – he looked like a bum.”
While still focused on making a 100% recovery, Rockhold hopes to make his light heavyweight debut in March.
“I’ve got some pretty marketable match-ups. We just gotta get healthy – I 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 in to the big – to the winner out of one of those fights (Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson). I wanna get comfortable, obviously it is moving up, I’m putting on some weight and I wanna feel it out, get my body ready for it.”