Former Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold Doesn’t Understand Why Anthony Smith Receiving A Title Shot Versus Jon Jones
The former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold has been contemplating to move to the 205-pound for months. After dealing with a myriad of injuries for past several years that keep him on a shelf for all of 2018 the American Kickboxing Academy product said his days at middleweight are over. Last month Rockhold declared his intent that it’s time to move up to the light heavyweight division and announce himself as a contender to Jon ‘Bones’ Jones title. However, Jones is currently slated to defend his first title defense against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2.
Anthony Smith calls out ‘Bones’ after the tense post-fight UFC 232 exchange. He made a case for himself as a legitimate contender for Jones title with wins over the likes of Rasha Evans, Shogun Rua and most recently coming off Performance of the Night win over former 205-pound title contender Volkan Oezdemir. Despite these wins, Rockhold is not impressed with Smith. Former champ even mocks UFC’s decision of putting Smith against Jones and claims ‘Bones’ will finish him in the first round.
“Anthony Smith just got a title shot,” Rockhold said on a recent episode of the MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “He couldn’t sniff a top 10 at middleweight… [Smith’s fight against Jones] will be over in the less than a round. That’s why I don’t understand why they made this fight.”
“[Corey Anderson] could last a few rounds maybe [against Jones]. I think Jan is probably one the toughest guys there. Just a tough durable guy. Not very skilled in so many ways, but durable.”
As far as his next fight Luke Rockhold said he wants to fight any top contender in the division within the first half of 2019. Former champ said he’s looking to add his name in the group of growing fighters like Corey Anderson and Thiago “Marreta” Santos, as all these believe they are deserving of a crack at Jon Jones’ title.
“I was shooting for late March, but we’re looking like early April now. It just depends on what opponents fall where they may. I know Jon really wanted another fight really quick, for some reason. So he got this Anthony Smith fight [at UFC 235], so we’ll see.
“I know a couple of the other top guys are matched up. I think Thiago Santos and Jan Blachowicz [are matched up]. Corey Anderson looked decent the other night [at UFC 232] too. I’m looking for a top guy.”
Luke Rockhold seems an exciting contender, let’s see how things roll out between Jones and Smith at UFC 235.