Chris Weidman was fiery at the "Unstoppable" press conference before UFC 196 in Las Vegas. He came at Luke Rockhold verbally and asserted himself in the war of words.
It was a different Weidman than fans are used to seeing. The cool, calm demeanor was replaced by ire. The former middleweight champ is hell bent on getting his title back, after falling to Rockhold by fourth-round TKO at UFC 194 in December. Weidman said he had a broken foot and was far from 100 percent in that fight.
The two will meet again in the main event of UFC 199 on June 4 in Los Angeles. Rockhold is not sure all the anger will be a positive thing for his foe.
"He doesn't look like himself," Rockhold said at the EA Sports UFC 2 launch party in Las Vegas. "I don't know. We'll see if this emotion helps him. To my knowledge, emotion doesn't help you fight. So he better check himself otherwise this fight is gonna be over a lot sooner than he expects -- maybe even than I expect. I don't feel threatened by Chris. I really don't see what he's going to bring to the table that's going to blow me away, anything different. Because of a broken foot? C'mon."
Rockhold said Weidman was an "emotional freakin' little girl" at the "Unstoppable" press conference. The champ said he had a hard time even getting a word in against the fuming Weidman.
"Obviously not having the belt has gotten to him and he's just making up a lot of things in his head seemingly," Rockhold said. "I don't know where he's coming from, but he's just really emotional. Maybe he's on his period or something. I don't know."
Weidman's foot was broken in two places six weeks out of the first fight with Rockhold. He also needed surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow right after the bout. Rockhold had some issues of his own. The American Kickboxing Academy product had staph infection leading into UFC 194 and said he was on antibiotics during fight week. Rockhold said he didn't feel like himself nor did he produce the kind of output he usually does.
"What is it gonna change when he comes back with a healthy foot?" Rockhold said. "His most effective thing in the whole fight was kicks. And he was kicking with both foot. Having a healthy foot is not going to help be a better boxer. It's not gonna help being a better grappler."
Rockhold didn't want to fight Weidman again right away. His desire, he said, was to take on rival Vitor Belfort, but the UFC went in another direction. Belfort is fighting Ronaldo Souza at UFC 198 on May 14. Yoel Romero was also an option, but he has been flagged by USADA for a potential anti-doping policy violation. That left Weidman as the best option.
"I might as well just go finish him off," Rockhold said. "We'll do that, put him behind me and we'll move on."
The first fight was close early, until Rockhold pulled ahead in a big way in the third round when he almost finished Weidman with ground and pound. Rockhold put Weidman away in the fourth after a dominant stretch. This time, Rockhold said, it won't go the same way.
"I think you're gonna see a different fight," Rockhold said. "It's gonna be quick, it's gonna be fast, it's gonna be precise. I'm gonna go in there, I'm gonna execute. I'm gonna get this fight over with.
"He's a great fighter. But I'm the best."