While losing to Yoel Romero is certainly no disgrace but it does leave Luke Rockhold at somewhat of a crossroads in his MMA career.
Rockhold has now dropped 2 of his last 3 fights, the Romero loss and of course when he shockingly lost his UFC middleweight title to Michael Bisping in a seismic upset in 2016, so what does Rockhold do next. There is clearly no quick route to another shot at the UFC middleweight title, the likes of Jacare Souza, Chris Weidman and probably even Kelvin Gastelum will all now be in front of Rockhold in the pecking order once Robert Whittaker returns and squares off against Romero.
Rockhold will in all probability need to beat two out of Souza, Weidman and Gastelum to force his way back in the title reckoning, which he is more than capable of, but is time against him. Rockhold at 33 might look for a quicker route to UFC gold. The light heavyweight division might be a more attractive proposition for Rockhold.
The light heavyweight ranks are badly in need of fresh blood, Rockhold would be a welcome addition. A Jon Jones return is far from certain, and Daniel Cormier might well give up his title if he beats Stipe Miocic when he challenges for the heavyweight title, so there is an obvious route for Rockhold if he chooses to move up a division, a much clearer route than at middleweight that’s for certain.
A move up to light heavyweight may well appeal in regard to not having to drag his body down to middleweight again, which looks an obvious struggle for Rockhold.
Rockhold has already said he won’t stay at middleweight for much longer, but I suspect he is already done, a certain Alex Gustafsson has already said he wants to fight Rockhold, it makes sense for both.