Tension between Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) began to swell in February when “The Mauler” called out Rockhold following his knockout loss to Yoel Romero in the UFC 221 main event.
Gustafsson originally was seeking a light heavyweight title shot against Daniel Cormier, but when “DC” took a UFC 226 showdown with heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, the towering Swede turned his focus elsewhere. Rockhold is a good friend and teammate of Cormier, and since he can’t get the champ, Gustafsson seems to view Rockhold as the next best thing.
Rockhold has since said he’d be open to the fight but criticized Gustafsson’s character for calling him out in the immediate aftermath of a knockout loss. Gustafsson doesn’t seem to care about any of that and today continued his push to lure Rockhold into a fight (via Twitter):
Although both sides appear interested in an octagon collision, it remains to be seen if the UFC brass displays the same enthusiasm. Rockhold is also being considered as a retirement-fight opponent with longtime rival Michael Bisping, who he lost the 185-pound belt to at UFC 199 in June 2016.
A trilogy fight with Bisping might be higher on Rockhold’s list of priorities than a matchup with Gustafsson, but either way, he seems to have options on the table.
For more on the UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Alexander Gustafsson responds to Luke Rockhold, waiting for 'chinny' ex-champ to move up