MMA Ratings Podcast

July 6, 2019

UFC 239: Luke Rockhold Could Be Next Opponent For Jon Jones With A Victory

By Adam Martin

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold makes his light heavyweight debut this Saturday night at UFC 239 against Jan Blachowicz. After flaming out at 185 lbs following a devastating knockout loss to Yoel Romero, Rockhold decided to move up in weight and try and become a fresh contender in a division that has been dominated by Jon Jones for the last decade. And if Rockhold can beat Blachowicz, who is a top-10 contender at 205 lbs, that win would immediately catapult him near the top of rankings in the UFC's shallow light heavyweight division's.

If Jones beats Thiago Santos in the main event as expected, there will be a lot of interest in seeing the champ move up to heavyweight. But if Jones does want to stay at 205, then Rockhold makes sense as the next challenger, provided of course he beats Blachowicz and does so impressively.

Not only would Rockhold be a credible challenger based on his skillset -- he's a highly-skilled striker with a slick submission game and a wrestling background -- but his friendship with Daniel Cormier would add another dimension to a potential clash against Jones, DC's longtime rival. Rockhold would surely play up that angle during the lead-up to a potential bout. As for Jones, we know how he likes to get under his opponent's skin in the build-up to a fight, and knowing Jones, he would certainly find a way to bring up the Rockhold-Cormier connection as well. Win-win.

But of course, any potential Rockhold vs. Jones matchup hinges on Jones staying at light heavyweight. And if he beats Santos this weekend, he could very well finally make the decision to move up to heavyweight, where he could either challenge DC for the belt or take on Francis Ngannou. For years we've all wanted to see Jones test his skills at heavyweight, and it seems like we're closer than we have ever been to seeing him step up a weight class. On the other hand, maybe a Rockhold fight gives Jones a reason to stick around and defend his belt at least one more time, and add another former champion to his resume.

Ultimately, any further discussion about a potential Luke Rockhold vs. Jon Jones fight should take place after both men win in impressive fashion at UFC 239. Rockhold needs to take care of business against Blachowicz, and a finish would surely help his cause. Jones then needs to defend his belt against Santos. Both of those things have to happen, and then there's a good chance we could see these two in the Octagon together by the end of the year.

UFC 239
Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold

UFC 239
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)

UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos takes place July 6, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC 239 Pre-Fight Analysis

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