Immediately after Luke Rockhold put the finishing touches on his shockingly dominant win over Lyoto Machida (watch highlights here) in the main event of last night’s (Sat., April 18, 2015) UFC on FOX 15 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the streaking former Strikeforce champion called out for a bout with UFC 185-pound champ Chris Weidman in his post-fight interview:
Apparently Rockhold is fully expecting that Weidman will defeat Vitor Belfort in the co-main event of May 23’s UFC 187 from Las Vegas, and he also believes that mixed martial arts (MMA) will finally be legalized in Weidman’s home state of New York.
When both of those things come true, Rockhold wants to take on the champ in Madison Square Garden:
“Did you hear my walkout song? I’m the best around. Look, I did my part; Weidman, you go do your part, and we’ll go take this across the way. Madison Square Garden, let’s go make history!”
Weidman was close by as part of the UFC on FOX broadcast team from New Jersey, where he cornered teammate and good friend Gian Villante in his “Fight of the Night”-winning finish of Corey Anderson on the preliminary card. The champ was quick to respond to the trash talk of Rockhold’s teammate Daniel Cormier by analyzing the match-up aspects of the huge potential bout:
Weidman focused on the fact that while Rockhold was amazing against Machida, he would present an altogether different and ultimately tougher challenge:
“It’s all about match-ups. He did amazing against Lyoto Machida, but that’s not me. He’s going to have to deal with a whole different gameplan. It’s a completely different ballgame.
“It’s a great match-up for me. He’s a very well rounded fighter, but he doesn’t have an expertise in anything. I think that’s the problem he’s going to run into with me. I’m a master at wrestling, I’m a master at jiu-jitsu; striking, I’m an expert in as well. I’m the best at everything. He’s in trouble (laughs).”
Finally, Rockhold appeared right alongside Weidman with only Cormier separating them. Post-fight show co-host Brian Stann praised Rockhold’s grappling against Machida before asking him how he thought he’d fare against the top of the division, specifically Weidman. The champ interrupted with some trash talk of his own:
Apparently he believes that he’d dominate Rockhold on the ground despite his recent streak of quick and brutal submission wins:
“That’s one thing; I’d smoke him in grappling, smoke him in jiu-jitsu.”
Rockhold said that his performance speaks for itself, hyping an “All-American” battle between his West Coast roots and Weidman’s East Coast background. He closed the post-fight spot by calling out Weidman with some true fighting words:
“Weidman, you can’t strike with me, you can’t grapple with me, takedowns are a means to nowhere, so this thing’s going to end like they all end. I’m gonna knock ya, I’m gonna rock ya, and I’m gonna choke ya.”
By gaining his biggest win in dominant fashion; Rockhold earned the right to talk for a night. But Weidman still has to defeat Belfort next month, and Rockhold isn’t guaranteed to get a shot at him even if he does with “Jacare” Souza waiting in the shadows.
Do you believe Rockhold will beat Weidman if he does get the fight?
Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports