LOS ANGELES -- Luke Rockhold all but knew the UFC middleweight title was going to be his when Chris Weidman pulled what was, in his words, a "bitch move" during the opening round of their UFC 194 title fight.
Weidman got Rockhold's back after a first-round scramble and went for a submission. And while on the surface, it may have looked like Weidman's advantage, Rockhold says he believed at that moment that Weidman wasn't confident in his wrestling.
"It's a bitch move," Rockhold said at a noticabely tense media day Wednesday promoting their UFC 199 rematch. "I mean, the moment he jumped on my back, I knew I had him. The one area where he was supposed to be dominant was his wrestling. For him not to take me down, not to horse me around there, and play his wrestling. For him to jump on my back just felt weak."
Rockhold recovered and took over the fight in the second round before pouring it on in the third and finally getting the TKO victory and the title in the fourth. But in his mind, that moment in the first was the fight's turning point.
"As a fighter, when some guy does that, the confidence isn't there," Rockhold said. "That's how i felt, that's how I engaged in the situation. I immediately relaxed and grew confidence from that moment."
Besides, the champ said, he wasn't convinced Weidman could outwrestle him anyway, despite what most said going into the bout.
"I really knew I would control every aspect of the fight, I didn't see him be able to do that [outwrestle him]," Rockhold said. "It's a matter of how good I would be on top. I thought he'd be able to be tougher off the start. I know I'd find the holes and find the openings and expose them."