It’s safe to say 2013 hasn’t gone the way Luke Rockhold planned, as the only thing most ‘UFC only’ fans remember him for is getting blasted by Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 8 in May. The former Strikeforce champ was scheduled to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 166 in October, but Rockhold had to drop out due to injury.

Of course, big MMA fans know that Rockhold is no joke, which is why the talented fighter currently sits at #6 in the UFC’s middleweight ranks. Now it’s just a matter of demonstrating that to UFC audiences.

While appearing on MMA Radio recently, here’s some of what Rockhold had to say about his much talked about Octagon debut.

“A spinning heel kick is going to derail my whole career? You’ve got to be joking.”

Up next, the 29 year-old will look to get his first Octagon win versus Costa Philippou at UFC FN 35, which will go down January 15th. Despite the fact Rockhold’s in need of a victory, he isn’t looking to play it safe or grind out a win versus the noted pugilist.

“I want to get this one behind me,” Rockhold said. “I’ve never been in this good a shape this far out from a fight, so this is going to be a good one for the fans.”

“Costa’s going to come to box, and I’m not going to let it slow down. I’m not going to Francis Carmont him or nothing. Trust me.”

While Carmont may have not left fans buzzing for more in some of his recent fights, he has won six straight since arriving in the UFC.  That could change, however, when he takes on “Jacare” Souza at UFC FN 36.

As far as Rockhold-Philippou, it has all the makings of a really entertaining scrap.