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Luke Rockhold ready to move to 205, not impressed by ‘middleweight washout’ top contenders

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Former UFC champion Luke Rockhold says his body falls apart when he cuts down to 185 pounds, so he’ll be much happier as a light heavyweight.

It sounds like Luke Rockhold is ready to head up a weight class. The former UFC middleweight champion announced that he is moving up to light heavyweight ahead of his next fight, in an interview with Submission Radio earlier this week.

Rockhold said with 205 pounds in sight, he has recently been lifting weights and subsequently increasing his strength.

“Getting stronger is the recipe, light heavyweight is the course,” Rockhold said. “I’m coming for these guys. I’m just not really impressed with what’s going on right now in that division, and I’m tired of compromising my body. 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 up.”

The AKA fighter, who hasn’t competed since a February knockout loss to Yoel Romero, was expected to fight fellow ex-champ Chris Weidman in a rematch at UFC 230 last month in New York City, but an injury forced him out of the contest.

Rockhold said his body is more breakable when he’s cutting all the way down to 185 pounds.

“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,” Rockhold said. “But your body breaks down in camp. Everything just starts falling apart when my weight gets down further and further. When the stress of the fight builds up my body just falls apart.

“My body just rejects 185. ... 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. I’m happier here, and it feels right. I feel better than I’ve ever felt.”

The former middleweight champion said he’s considered moving up to light heavyweight for “the last few years.”

“I’ve been killing myself for many years now trying to make that weight,” he said. “It makes me less of a fighter.”

Rockhold’s training partner and friend Daniel Cormier is the current light heavyweight champion, but that changes in two weeks at UFC 232 when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson fight for the soon-to-be vacant title.

Rockhold isn’t impressed with the current contender landscape at 205 pounds, however, which features top ranked fighers like Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes, plus division mainstays Jan Blachowicz, Ilir Latifi and Volkan Oezdemir.

“You’ve got guys making waves at light heavyweight that are somewhat laughable,” Rockhold said. “Couple of middleweight washouts reaching into the top 10 within a few fights.

“I’m just not impressed with these guys. They’re a little sloppy in so many ways and I see openings. I mean, the rest of the division, there’s a couple of good guys up there, but I don’t see much.”