Luke Rockhold backed to challenge Jon Jones after UFC 239 by trainer who wants American to gain revenge for team-mate Daniel Cormier – The Sun

LUKE ROCKHOLD has been backed to challenge UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and continue the feud started by gym pal Daniel Cormier.

Ex-UFC middleweight champion Rockhold has twice helped American Kickboxing Academy team-mate Cormier prepare to dethrone Jones.

But striking maestro “Bones” prevailed both times and Cormier has since gone onto become heavyweight champion while Rockhold arrives as the latest light-heavyweight addition.

Jones defends his 205lb crown against Thiago Santos at UFC 239 on the weekend as Rockhold makes his debut in the division earlier on in the night against Jan Blachowicz.

Rockhold’s coach Javier Mendez wants the Ralph Lauren model to carry on AKA’s feud with Jones and be the man to knock the two-time champion off the top.

Mendez told SunSport: “I 100 per cent think he’s ready for Jon Jones and after this fight if they’re ready I think they should.

“It will be a great challenge, there is a great rivalry there going on with Jones and him wanting to knock off all the AKA guys.

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“Him and Luke, they haven’t had much back and forth, a tiny bit, but it’s a fight that makes sense because there’s history there because of the Daniel’s fight with Jon.

“It’s a different fight because Luke has an entirely different set of skills than DC, Luke’s better at some things and DC is better at others.”

Before Rockhold can think about a dream fight with pound-for-pound star Jones, he must first beat Blachowicz on his light-heavyweight debut in Las Vegas.

The American comes into the fight having lost to Yoel Romero in his last fight at UFC 221, but it proved to be his final at 185lb.

Working almost 2st heavier now, Mendez admitted the move up in weight should have happened three fights ago, and warned Rockhold is at “full strength” now.

Years of hard knocks in sparring against former heavyweight champ Cain Velazquez, Cormier and even lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov has Mendez in no fear Rockhold can conquer a second division.


Mendez added: “Knowing him and knowing his body this move should have been done three fights ago.

“He’s now going to be at full power, full strength, he’s so confident at this weight. He’s going to do what he did in the gym against Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez during some great sparring matches.

“In his career he’s sparred with those guys who knows how many damn times and there’s been some great back and forth wars in the gym.”

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