Luke Rockhold to make LHW debut vs. Blachowicz at UFC 239


Luke Rockhold reacts after defeating Chris Weidman in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194 back in 2015 in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

Luke Rockhold is once again ready to make his light-heavyweight debut.

The former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion is set to take on Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239 in July, as first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okomoto.

Rockhold has been contemplating a move up from the 185- to the 205-pound division for a while and was linked to a fight with Alexander Gustafsson midway through 2018 although a leg injury Rockhold sustained in training put that matchup on ice.

Rockhold, 34, stands six-foot-four and told MMAFighting one year ago that the weight cut down to 185 pounds became too difficult for him over time.

“As you get older, your bones get bigger. The last couple cuts have been pretty brutal on me,” Rockhold said. “I had trouble regulating my body temperature and all that [expletive]. It’s not fun. It’s not a fun cut anymore. I’m a different fighter at 205. That weight cut is taking a lot out of me.”

Rockhold (16-4) holds notable wins over fellow former champs Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping, but he has been knocked out in two of his past three fights – the most recent of which was at the hands of Yoel Romero at UFC 221 in February of 2018.

Blachowicz (23-8) is also looking to get back on the winning track. The 36-year-old Polish fighter had a four-fight winning streak snapped in Febraury when he was TKO’d by Thiago Santos in the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Prague.

UFC 239 takes place July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. No other bouts have been linked to this event at this time.

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