When it comes right down to it, Luke Rockhold believes that he enjoys fighting and Michael Bisping doesn't.
The bombastic Bisping's fights usually come with a torrent of trash talk and histrionics. But Rockhold, who meets Bisping on the main event of a Nov. 8 UFC Fight Night card in Sydney, Australia (Nov. 7 in North America), believes that it's all a front, and that his opponent doesn't actually enjoy stepping into the Octagon.
"I believe he hypes himself up," Rockhold said on Tuesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I don't think he really enjoys fighting. You see him, he hypes himself up, trying to create all the controversy before the fight."
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion even takes Bisping's demeanor as a sign that he doesn't actually enjoy mixed martial arts competition.
"Even when he's walking to the cage - I study my opponents a lot and see how they carry themselves - you see him, he's psyching himself up just to get in cage, slapping himself, yelling and screaming and getting into the cage and stomping around. I'm truly into fighting ... he seems like he's kind of tense and all stressed out."
Of course, even Bisping's biggest detractors give him his due as fighter, a scrapper who gives his all once the fight starts.
"He'll fight to the bitter and end take punches and do everything and do everything to win," Rockhold said. "I admire that and I respect all that, but, I don't think he really enjoys fighting like I do, that's what I'm going to do, I'm going to go in there and enjoy myself and get the win."
Rockhold also noted that Bisping's antics don't always end when the fight is over, so the American Kickboxing Academy fighter warned him not to try anything funny.
"His true colors show after the fight, and we see how he carries himself after the fight, spitting on people's corners," Rockhold said. "If he did that to one of my corners, we have two of my guys would go in there and beat his ass, too."
There's been conjecture that Bisping has already gotten into Rockhold's head, and the two have expressed his dislike for one another for quite some time. And Rockhold has been known to lose his cool at times, notably in the buildup to his knockout loss against Vitor Belfort.
But Rockhold insists he's a changed man.
"Everyone thinks he's getting me, I'm emotional, this and that," Rockhold said. "Look at me now, and look at me vs. Belfort. I'm a completely different person. I was actually very heated up in the Belfort exchanges, I was emotionally invested, you could see it in my eyes in my demeanor. In this fight, I'm more relaxed, I know nothing's getting to me, in the big picture, I know I'm going to go in there and fight my fight."