With his anticipated middleweight title bout against Luke Rockhold finally scheduled for UFC 194 in December, Chris Weidman ruffled ‘Rocky’s’ feathers as part of an appearance on The MMA Hour earlier this week.
The champ insinuated that Rockhold ‘knew what was coming to him’ despite his seemingly endless trash talk, suggesting that the AKA product was indeed a bit insecure of himself heading into the biggest fight of his career. And not surprisingly, the outspoken challenger had a quick response to MMAFighting.com noting that the champ is supposedly a bit delusional:
“It sounds like [Weidman]’s asleep in bed. I just don’t know what the hell’s going on in his head. I don’t know if he’s psychologically convinced himself that we’re scared of him or something, but he’s not on the right page. I feel like he’s in for a rude awakening.
“I know one thing…I’m going to start bringing Monster Energy drinks to our press conference and all our media engagements, just to give him something extra to promote this fight. His interviews are like watching paint dry.”
Continuing his supposedly bad blood-fueled barbs at Weidman, Rockhold turned the tables on his counterpart’s suggestions to Ariel Helwani, instead believing that the champion is focusing on the wrong aspects of their common opponents Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida:
“I feel the same way that he feels,” Rockhold said. “The only difference is I train with elite level fighters and he doesn’t. I know what I’m capable of. He’s been in there and he’s fought some tough guys, I’ll give him that. He fought the old lion with his balls cut off. I fought a different fighter. He wants to keep comparing our two fights; it’s a joke. I got caught, and that doesn’t tell the tale of a fight. I got caught by a juiced-out animal. Him? He fought an old lion with his balls cut off.
“We fought Machida in the relative same time. You saw how I dealt with Machida and how he struggled with him in five-round fight, and almost got beat multiple times. I don’t believe there was one moment where I struggled with Machida. If there’s a difference on the ground, if he thinks his grappling’s superior, look at that fight. He couldn’t hold Machida down and I completely dominated him on the ground. Stand-up realm, he’s tough on the feet — but he’s slow. He’s slow, he’s clumsy…he kicks like Michael Bisping, really the most awkward, funky kicks.”
Rockhold may or may not have some strong points based on your view of the situation, but he could be correct in his assertion that Weidman gets by with physical toughness, and that leads to him rushing in a bit carelessly:
“I think there’s a relaxation that I have over Weidman that he hasn’t realized yet. He’s so tough, he gets by on a lot of toughness, but I don’t think he uses his head too well. It seems like he’s a little cloudy in his vision in a fight. He doesn’t fight with the highest IQ. You can see when he comes in; he comes in kind of carelessly, kind of going through the motions. He doesn’t adjust well. It seems like he’s almost seeing red at times. I was there at one point in my career. I learned how to adjust and see my opponent and what he brings, and counter.”
Weidman may indeed have a more hard-charging stance than the highly technical Rockhold, but the former Strikeforce champ firmly insists that style will not work when they fight:
“I understand that Chris is a good offensive wrestler, but this is not wrestling,” he said. “He’s not going to be able to dictate the pace of the fight. He’s going to run into a wall. He’s going to come forward and expect to control the cage like he usually does with these guys who are scared of his wrestling and I’m going to meet him right in the middle and stop him dead in his tracks. I’m about to wake this fool up.”
The undefeated Weidman has been able to do just that up until this point, but Rockhold has been pegged by many as the best combatant in a new crop of younger and potentially more dangerous middleweights. There’s a lot here to suggest that their match-up could be one of the best bouts of 2015. Which world-class athlete will come out on top with the belt?