When Luke Rockhold was first declared as the top contender in the middleweight division in April, he started a friendly back and forth on Twitter with UFC champion Chris Weidman while the two fighters awaited the promotion to actually book their matchup.
The two middleweights jabbed at each other with a few funny comments, but over time the pokes and prods turned into haymakers as the gloves came off with both Rockhold and Weidman taking direct aim at each other.
Weidman did interviews where he called Rockhold "insecure" while saying the former Strikeforce champion didn't really believe he could win in their fight at UFC 194 in December.
Rockhold quickly fired back at the champion by saying he'd be lucky to make it past the third round when they actually step into the Octagon together.
"I think naturally things escalate like that all the time," Rockhold told FOX Sports recently. "You start taking jabs and the fight gets signed and things get a little more serious and one person goes too far and then the next and it just kind of escalates.
"It's time to fight. That guy's got what I want. I'm coming to take it from him and I'm sure he's not too happy right now. Naturally, I think emotions are going to get tied up in that and it's only going to get more heated as time progresses."
Rockhold is no stranger to getting into verbal battles with his opponents.
Just last year, Rockhold was locked in a nasty war of words with middleweight bad boy Michael Bisping before they fought in Australia. Rockhold ultimately settled things by submitting the Brit in the second round although he promises the pre-fight banter was nothing more than hype, and Bisping never really got under his skin.
As a matter of fact, Rockhold actually agrees with something Bisping said recently in regards to his next opponent.
Bisping was asked about Weidman in an interview earlier this summer and he said that the champion's reign has been "circumstantial" considering the competition he's actually faced since being in the UFC.
Bisping pointed out that Weidman beat Mark Munoz, who had a terrible performance after a long layoff from fighting, and then defeated Anderson Silva in a moment when the greatest UFC champion of all time made a very foolish error. Bisping also took aim at Weidman's most recent win over Vitor Belfort, which happened months after the Brazilian was forced off testosterone replacement therapy and the size of his body going into the fight was dramatically different than some of his recent wins.
Rockhold says Bisping is onto something when it comes to Weidman's over inflated record because as good as he's been, the current middleweight king hasn't actually gone up against the best of the best at the time he's fought them.
"I'm going to have to agree Bisping on this one. The man gets on my nerves sometimes, but sometimes he's right. I'm going to have to side with him on this one," Rockhold said.
"I think it's been the perfect storm for Weidman. He's a tough guy, but I think it's been the perfect storm. Every storm comes to an end and I'm about to shine the light on a bright day."
Rockhold will get his chance on Dec. 12 at UFC 194 in Las Vegas.