Alexander Gustafsson isn’t one for trash talk, but the 6 ft 5 inch Swede has a bone to pick with former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold, 33, will look to move up to the light heavyweight division after his most recent loss to Yoel Romero, but ‘The Mauler’ doesn’t think Rockhold knows what he’s letting himself in for.
Gustafsson, a two-time light heavyweight title challenger, called Rockhold out on social media in February and told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour that he wants to send the Californian back to middleweight with his tail in between his legs.
If it’s easier fights Rockhold is pursuing, he won’t find any at 205 pounds.
“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, per MMA Fighting Newswire.
“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.”
After Rockhold warned Gustafsson that he was ‘coming for that ass’, Gustafsson mocked the former champ and his allegedly weak chin, stating on Twitter that would he would be waiting for him at 205.
Rockhold’s four career losses have come by knockout, and the American Kickboxing Academy standout suffered arguably his worst loss to date when he was pummeled by ‘Soldier of God’ at UFC 221 last month.
Gustafsson, who was knocked out by Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in 2015, doubled down on his comments about Rockhold having a weak chin, citing his KO losses to Romero, Michael Bisping, and Vitor Belfort.
“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.”
Gustafsson, 31, originally wanted a championship rematch with Daniel Cormier but ‘DC’ will move up in weight to challenge reigning heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in one of the year’s most anticipated fights at UFC 226 on July 7.
Rockhold, who trains with Cormier at AKA, is willing to fill the void left by his teammate but has also hinted a trilogy bout with Michael Bisping.