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Luke Rockhold on Chris Weidman: 'I'm going to dominate him, and then I will finish him'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Chris Weidman may very well be one of the best wrestlers in the middleweight division, but that isn't worrying UFC 194 title challenger Luke Rockhold.

"I just got done sparring Daniel Cormier," Rockhold said on Wednesday's UFC 194 conference call. "I've been sparring Cain (Velasquez) and Cormier my whole career, basically, so I'm very used to the bigger, better wrestlers of the UFC and beyond. (They are) the best guys in the game and much bigger (than Weidman), so I'm used to the pressure.

"Weidman has to think twice if he thinks his wrestling is going to dictate where the fight takes place, because I deal with that s**t every day."

Rockhold and Weidman are slated to meet Dec. 12 in the co-main event of UFC 194, a card that is expected to be one of the biggest in recent UFC history.

Combined, the two middleweights carry a sterling 22-1 record in UFC/Strikeforce competition, with the only loss coming in Rockhold's spinning heel kick setback against Vitor Belfort in 2013. Both men are considered to be two of the most well-rounded fighters in the game, and both have defeated a who's who of the 185-pound division, leading many observers to proclaim the match-up as one of the best co-main events to ever support a UFC pay-per-view.

Strangely, though, Rockhold and Weidman's roads to the top have rarely crossed. The pair share just two common opponents: Belfort, who Weidman took down and demolished in less than three minutes at UFC 187, and former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who both men bested in vastly different fashions. While Weidman edged Machida in one of the best fights of 2014, Rockhold did even better, brutally finishing the Brazilian in just seven minutes this past April.

The victory earned Rockhold his long-awaited title shot, and the manner in which Rockhold did it gave him even more confidence about his chances against the champion.

"I'm not really concerned about prior résumé. I know exactly who he fought. We've fought the same guys," Rockhold said. "I know how he fought them, and I know how I fought them. I've fought some very, very tough guys in my time. Chris is about to find out, he's got a lot of holes in his game and he just hasn't fought anybody who's been able to exploit them until now. He's going to fight a guy who's not going to... I'm not going to sit there and cower down and let him control the ring. I'm going to stop him in the middle of the cage, I'm going to dominate him, and then I will finish him."

The boldness of Rockhold's proclamation prompted an enthusiastic and sarcastic "I can't wait!" followed by a loud laugh from Weidman, who was on the conference call as well. But Rockhold was undeterred, and later he promised to make good on his words.

"Adjustment is everything," Rockhold said. "Adjustment is what fighting is all about. It's about who can make those switches, who's got the A, the B, the C, and back-up plans, because things don't always work out the way see them sometimes. For the most part, they do for me. I've seen this fight play out many, many times over the years, and I really haven't had to do too much homework.

"I adjust well. I stay relaxed, I stay focused, and we've all seen with Chris, he gets frustrated when you hit him. When things don't go his way, he sacks up, he fights with his balls. Good for him, it got him by to a certain point. But it's about to get him in big trouble. He's got his wrestling gameplan, he's going to get hit, he'll start to strike. He'll go from A to B, you better have C, D, before he realizes he's going to have an F, and he's going to fail."