Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold aren’t going to fight for a couple more months, but the pre-fight, mental war is already in full swing.
Although Rockhold has done nothing but impress in his last four outings, and has cruised through stars like Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping, Weidman continues to say he’s going to crush the contender. Not surprisingly, Rockhold hasn’t really cared for the middleweight champ’s take on the bout, and has fired back in return.
Case in point, Rockhold appeared on “The MMA Hour” once again recently, and while discussing Weidman’s verbal shots, the well rounded fighter stated (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“I really don’t know what’s going through his head,” Rockhold said. “He’s a psychology major, right? Maybe he’s just messing with himself. I don’t know. He’s built these things up in his head. I don’t know what he’s reading into, but he’s about to wake up to a different story come 12/12 [the date of their fight].
“I don’t see where he sees weakness in my game and what I’ve brought to the table. I’ve been through some tough battles through my career and he’s seen a lot of those in the past, in my Strikeforce days and I think I’ve proven myself even more so now,” he noted. “People haven’t seen the wars, in UFC, that I’ve had in Strikefore and what I am capable of. I can dig deep and I just don’t know where he thinks he’s going to break me. I think he is underestimating every part of my game. He’s going to be surprised when he tries to wrestle and I’m shutting him down everywhere. This will ultimately probably end up on the feet. I don’t see what he brings to the table.”
It’s hard to believe that Weidman isn’t on some level, aware that Rockhold has the potential to be his toughest fight yet. But, when you have the wrestling and top game that he does, plus a pretty dangerous striking game to throw in the mix, it’s not surprising that he’s pretty, pretty confident heading into the bout. After all, this is the guy that ended the storied reign of Anderson Silva (yes, yes, even if said legend was clowning around).
Will Rockhold be able to squash Weidman’s take down attempts like he predicts? If so, Weidman could be navigating some pretty treacherous waters. It’s a fascinating fight on many, many levels.
UFC 194 will go down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 12th.