Alexander Gustafsson is generally not aggressive on social media but looks like he has made an exception for Luke Rockhold.
The current Lightweight champion Daniel Cormier prepares for UFC 226, so he had to look an opponent elsewhere. The search led him to Luke Rockhold, a former Middleweight champion a longtime Cormier’s colleague at American Kickboxing Academy. After he heard Rockhold will probably fight at 205-pounds, The Mauler called him out, and Rockhold responded that he is interested in this fight too.
The reason for this fight might be very strange when it comes to Alexander Gustafsson. He just wants to shut Luke Rockhold’s mouth. (quoted by MMAFighting.com)
“First of all, he’s a good fighter, but he was saying a lot, that it’s easier to fight at 205 and just a lot of stuff,” Gustafsson said Monday on The MMA Hour.
“It feels like, to him, he was going up in weight just to have an easier fight, more or less, and I just told him that’s not case and here I am. So basically he was the one who started all of this, and I just followed up on it.”
Alexander Gustafsson is not shy this time. After Luke Rockhold promised he is coming to get his ass, he fired back on Twitter, claiming Rockhold was “chinny” as a Middleweight and he will be knocked out as a Light Heavyweight.
In the last three fights, Luke Rockhold received two brutal knockouts – from Michael Bisping, and from Yoel Romero at UFC 221. Luke Rockhold said after the fight that he would torture his body staying Middleweight and this brutal weight cut started to affect his abilities. He also believes his durability and other performances might be improved if he goes a division up. However, Alexander Gustaffson seriously attacks Rockhold’s chin.
“I just go by facts,” Gustafsson said. “That’s all we’ve seen so far. And he thinks an easy thing coming up to light heavyweight, but I’m there to welcome him.”
Rockhold was plan B for Alexander Gustafsson all the time. He planned on facing Daniel Cormier, a fighter who defeated him via split decision at UFC 192. After the super fight between champion and another champion has been scheduled for UFC 226, The Mauler lost that opportunity. Gustafsson said he is very disappointed by the decision but he still claims that the title is still his primary goal.
“For me, it’s the belt basically,” Gustafsson said. “That’s my top priority right now because I feel like I’m the No. 1 contender and I’ve been fighting most of the guys in my division. So that’s my top priority. But if that can’t happen, I’m up for suggestions and we’re looking at, for example, Luke Rockhold, and then see if we can [figure] something good out.”
Gustafsson says that a former Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Bones Jones, will remain one more impossible option.
Jon Bones Jones received a $205,000 fine and his fighting license was revoked by CSAC for a failed drug test at UFC 214. He was positive for Turinabol related to his rematch with Cormier last July. Jones is expected to receive a sentence from USADA. The former champion might receive a four-year suspension.
Jones and Gustafsson fought at UFC 165 in 2013, and Jones won via unanimous decision. Since the defeat, The Mauler has wanted the rematch, but he is aware that this option might remain impossible for a long period of time.
“He’s in a tough situation,” Gustafsson said of Jones.
“He feels like he’s too far away now. But if somehow he comes back, he has a way and he comes back, that’s also a fight I have to do. We need to do a second round, him and me, but let’s see how it plays out for him.”
Daniel Cormier announced his retirement in 2019, and Jon Bones Jones faces a long suspension, so Alexander Gustafsson is aware he will not get any title rematch he has been long called for. The Mauler confessed he will be very disappointed but his goals would remain the same.
“I just need to redirect my focus and take that belt from whoever has it or whatever happens in our division,” Gustafsson said.
“It’s two fights that I really, really want, because I want to take back those losses and beat them, and that’s something that I want. But if they both disappear from the division, there’s nothing more that I can do more than taking that belt.”
What do you think, will the fight between Alexander Gustafsson and Luke Rockhold finally be booked and when?