Anthony Smith, a longtime rival of Rockhold, says the former middleweight champion looked like a coward at UFC 239.
“I don’t understand why people look at me and think, ‘Well, if he can do it, I can do it,'” Smith said to Submission Radio (via Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “It’s not like that. It’s not that easy. Like, Rockhold wouldn’t make it five seconds fighting the way that I fight. He doesn’t have the ability to do what I do. He doesn’t have the defensive skills. He doesn’t have the footwork, and he doesn’t have the heart. I mean, once he couldn’t take Blachowicz down, he looked like a coward. Like, he was broken, and he was gassed after two-and-a-half minutes.”
Rockhold is now riding a two fight losing streak and he hasn’t picked up a victory in almost two years.
Smith also took offense to how cocky that Rockhold seemed to be in the lead up to the UFC 239 event.
“It’s not that easy,” Smith said. “And I know that all these 185ers come up and are looking at me, and they’re looking at Thiago Santo, and they’re saying, ‘Well, if they can do it, I can do it.’ No you (expletive) can’t. We just had a perfect example of it, of a former champion, a guy who ran through several people at 185, move up and get starched by a bum – by his (Rockhold’s) words, that Blachowicz was a bum several times, he’s a nobody. So, like, I just don’t. I don’t understand how he continues being so god damn cocky, because every time he’s like this, it doesn’t work out, and he gets embarrassed. So, I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make any sense.”
UFC President Dana White has stated that he’d like to see Rockhold retire, potentially putting a damper on Smith’s plan to face his adversary.