Boxing

Rockhold To UFC: Stop Fighting These Guys For Their Paychecks

Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold thinks the UFC needs to step up and pay its top fighters to get big fights booked.

Speaking with Helen Yee this week ahead of his own return to action in August, Rockhold was asked about his thoughts on Jon Jones moving to the heavyweight division. The former light heavyweight champion has recently spoken about a possible heavyweight debut against Stipe Miocic, but Rockhold thinks it’s on the UFC to make that fight happen.

“I mean I’m sure we’re all excited to see Jon Jones fight again,” Rockhold said. “Come back and fight, obviously heavyweight is a different dynamic. You never know what he’s going to bring to the table. I mean hopefully they can get the deal done and they can get him a fight. I think that’s the biggest thing is the UFC and him need to come to an agreement and they need to pay the man.”

(Zuffa LLC)

Jones has been teasing a move up to heavyweight since defending the light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in 2020. While Jones has been involved in a variety of legal issues throughout his career and in the period since his last fight, Rockhold doesn’t believe that takes away from his worth as a fighter.

“Jon Jones has earned his place, no matter all the bullshit he’s done, he’s still earned his paycheck. So, stop fighting these guys for their paychecks and just pay them. Pay Francis, pay Jon, pay so-and-so. Pay up, let’s go.”

Current UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou has openly contemplated the paycheck he could collect if he exits MMA in order to box Tyson Fury. Money has also contributed to the delay for Jones’s heavyweight debut, in addition to factors such as timing and choice of opponent.

Former UFC and Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold is scheduled to face Paulo Costa at UFC 278 in what will be his first fight in over three years. The 37-year-old was knocked out by Yoel Romero in a bid for the UFC interim middleweight title in 2018 before a move up to light heavyweight and subsequent loss to Jan Blachowicz in his most recent bout.

What do you think of Rockhold’s comments that the UFC needs to to pay some of its top fighters what they ask for?

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