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Luke Rockhold challenges ‘pitter-patter’ Michael Bisping to ‘put his money where his mouth is’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The queue to fight Michael Bisping is never empty for long. So naturally, less than a few days after the polarizing Brit picked up a pivotal, possibly career-saving fourth-round TKO victory over Cung Le in Macau this past weekend, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was right there, letting it be known on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour just how unimpressed he was by what many are calling the best performance of Bisping's career.

"What, by his pitter-patter?" Rockhold asked flatly. "No. Not impressed by Bisping whatsoever, nothing he does. He's the most unflexible MMA fighter I've ever seen in my life. Did you see some of those kicks he threw?"

Bisping employed his trademark high-volume attack to swell up both of Le's eyes and mash the veteran into a bloody pulp on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 48, rebounding with authority just four months after Tim Kennedy dominated Bisping to such a degree that many were left wondering whether injuries and Father Time had finally taken its toll on the 35-year-old.

Of course, now that he's back in the win column, Bisping -- the man who owns the dubious distinction of being the winningest fighter in UFC history to never fight for a championship -- is primed to make one last good run at title contention, and Rockhold appears to be a more than willing dance partner in that pursuit. The two middleweights have traded barbs on social media for months, and all that bad blood finally rose from a simmer to a rolling boil on Sunday following an early morning altercation in a Macau hotel.

"Ironically, I came down to get coffee the next morning (after the fight), and he happened to be right there in my tracks," Rockhold said. "His dad and his little friend that he had with him were giving me crap all week, just saying, ‘Bisping is going to kick your butt after he beats Cung Le,' this and that, they were constantly getting in my face or my ear. So he kind of gave me some weird looks and I couldn't help but acknowledge Bisping.

"I made a bet, and I'm not joking around whatsoever. And I told him that. He wouldn't take my bet. The bet was if I finish him in one round, we switch purses. And if I don't finish him in one round -- one round -- he gets my purse. Show and win, everything. All he has to do is run around for one round. I confronted the man and he wouldn't take it. He started to backtrack and make excuses right off the bat. The man said he got the better of me and beat me up in one sparring session. If he's that confident that he did that, why wouldn't he take a bet? An extra $100,000 on his paycheck couldn't hurt, right? All he's got to do is survive one round."

Rockhold was previously in discussions to fight former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, however now that Bisping is once again a viable contender, Rockhold noted that he probably "won't ever have the opportunity again" to shut Bisping up for good, so he'd prefer to take that match-up instead.

For his part, Bisping is up for the challenge, as the Brit included a lengthy callout of Rockhold into his post-fight victory speech. Rockhold has since spoken to a few people within the UFC and believes there's a "good possibility" that the fight happens.

At the moment, the only snag appears to be Rockhold's health, as the American revealed on Monday that he tore his meniscus about four weeks prior to his April win over Tim Boetsch. Rockhold underwent surgery to repair the damage just three weeks ago, but once the swelling subsides, he expects to be good to go.

"I'm maybe a week to 2-3 weeks away from being 100-percent with the knee," he said. "I'm pretty much doing everything now, just some of the loaded positions with my knee and the takedowns and stuff like that, it's just not quite at full strength, but I'm doing everything I can to get it back. I think a December return would be ideal."

And if that December return brings with it a grudge match against Bisping, Rockhold has no doubt how the festivities will play out.

"(I see me) walking through his pitter-patter and just putting it on him, doing what I do," Rockhold said simply. "I just don't have respect for Bisping and his fighting style, and I'll take anything he's going to bring at me. After everything that's happened with him, trust me, I'm just going to go in there and look for the kill. And I believe I can finish him in one round. I truly do.

"Let's see, Bisping. Let's make the fight, and like I said, I'm still confident about one round. If he wants to put his money where his mouth is, let's do it."

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