After both fighters successfully tipped the scales at the 185-pound middleweight limit, Bisping kicked off the customary staredown with a playful jab to Rockhold's stomach. From there the expletives flew as UFC president Dana White tried valiantly to keep the two rivals separated ahead of their rematch on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 199.
"He doesn't like me, I don't like him," Bisping said afterward on FOX Sports 1. "All I was trying to do was, you know, talk a little trash. Dana, I think he was hyper-sensitive. He wouldn't let me get near him. Dana was pushing me away. I'm like, ‘Dana, relax.' He goes, don't touch him! Don't touch him! I'm not going to touch him. I'm not here to fight. I'm a professional, I'm going to fight tomorrow. Don't you worry."
Rockhold and Bisping actually both weighed in early Friday morning, debuting the California State Athletic Commission's historic new weigh-in policy ahead of UFC 199. Both hit their marks on the dot at 185 pounds, making their title fight official.
That meant the public weigh-in on Friday afternoon was simply for show, although both fighters seemed to appreciate the spectacle and played up their rivalry for the crowd inside The Forum in Los Angeles, CA.
"I see this fight going flawlessly," Rockhold said on FOX Sports 1. "I really understand what Michael brings and I know what I have. I'm going to go out there, I'm going to make him realize his true destiny -- that's behind the desk with you guys. He ain't going to compete with me. There's levels to this game, and he's about to find that out. He didn't understand last time. It's time to penetrate that thick skull and make him realize."
Rockhold and Bisping previously fought at UFC Fight Night 55 in Nov. 2014, where Rockhold won via second-round guillotine after downing Bisping on the feet. Neither fighter has lost since that first meeting.
Rockhold went on to defeat Chris Weidman to capture the UFC middleweight title, while Bisping racked up three consecutive victories culminating in a decision win over legendary middleweight Anderson Silva. The win over Silva ultimately earned Bisping the phone call to challenge Rockhold on two week's notice when Weidman pulled out of UFC 199 with a neck injury, and Bisping promised once again on Friday to make the most out of the elusive first title shot of his decade-long UFC career.
"I've never turned down a fight in my life," Bisping said. "There's not a single thing in this world that I do better than fighting, and since I was eight years old, I've always been a fighter. I really have. This is who I am as a person. I don't need eight weeks. I think I can beat anybody in the world right now, whether it's at the end of a training camp or not, and that's what you have to be. Luke Rockhold isn't the same person. He's not cut from the same cloth as me. He's a pretender. He's a poser. A lot of the UFC roster are. They're all posers. I'm a real fighter. They're ‘athletes.' I ain't an athlete. I'm a fighter, and you're going to see that tomorrow night."