On his way to winning the middleweight title, Luke Rockhold beat a slew of top contenders including Michael Bisping, who he tapped out with a second-round guillotine choke when they met in 2014.
Since capturing the championship last December, Rockhold has been poised for a number of potential rematches as part of his first title defense. First there was former champion Chris Weidman, who was granted an automatic rematch after losing to Rockhold at UFC 194.
Now comes Bisping, who accepted the fight with Rockhold at UFC 199 on short notice after Weidman suffered an injury. Rockhold respects Bisping's desire to avenge his previous loss, but he says the longtime British contender is going to go home empty handed after another devastating defeat.
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"I don't know how much these guys really want it but they're going to try. I think I've never had to rematch someone yet and seemingly a lot of these rematches are beginning to take place. We'll see how these guys feel after I beat them twice," Rockhold told FOX Sports. "It's tough."
When Rockhold heard the news that Weidman was dropping out of their fight due to a neck injury, he didn't sit around and mope about an opportunity missed to dispatch another rival.
Instead, Rockhold immediately shifted his mentality to whomever was crazy enough to accept a fight with him on two weeks' notice. When he heard Bisping was the guy, Rockhold started salivating with thoughts of sending him packing the same way he planned on putting Weidman out to pasture.
"My thoughts immediately jumped to the next guy and started thinking about how I was going to keep on this card and keep my paycheck and not waste my time," Rockhold said. "I'm not here to waste my time. I'm here to fight, I'm here to get paid, I'm here to live my dream. So it doesn't really matter right now.
"What matters is getting paid and Bisping has a big, fat mouth and it needs to get shut. He can sell a fight and I can shut him up. Put that all together and I'm a happy man."
Since their last fight in 2014, Bisping has gone undefeated with three straight wins, including a victory this past February over Anderson Silva in London.
The victory propelled Bisping to the top five in the middleweight division rankings and put him in line for a title shot that he'll receive at UFC 199 on Saturday night.
Rockhold says he was impressed with Bisping's last win, but it still won't be enough once they are locked inside the cage together.
"People want to talk about how Anderson almost got him. Bisping was dominating that fight until he started being an idiot and complaining about his mouthpiece. If he didn't complain about his mouthpiece, he would have run away with that fight. That flying knee was off a mistake on his part by complaining and not engaging himself in the fight. Credit to him, he's earned this shot. That's my opinion on that," Rockhold said.
"Bisping's a tough guy, he fights to his ability but he's just not fighting on my level. My game has changed, his game hasn't. I don't think he's declined, I don't think he's improved, I think he's tough. He says mentally he's improved. No one is tougher mentally than me in any of these fights. Technically, there's not a man that's better than me. Skill for skill, technique for technique across the board. So this is not looking good for Bisping."
In the lead up to their fight, Bisping has also talked at length how he believes the short notice will actually be an advantage versus the typical eight-week camp that takes a serious toll on his mind and body.
Rockhold can't help but laugh at the notion that less preparation will somehow help Bisping do better than he did the last time they met, but he's happy to allow the outspoken middleweight to hold onto those delusions until they meet.
Then he's in for a reality check.
"It's probably not the best idea, but some guys do have rough camps. Things happen. You might have an advantage in some ways and disadvantage in others," Rockhold explained. "Who knows how good of shape Bisping's been in. You've got to be in decent shape for movies. He doesn't want to look like a slob. So I don't know where he's at.
"He says he's ready. He's motivated me. He's got me psyched."