Luke Rockhold is a former champion, having dominated the middleweight division while competing in Strikeforce.
Since a loss to Vitor Belfort in Brazil, Rockhold has looked the part of a champion again, and will have his opportunity to secure UFC gold this December when he meets Chris Weidman at UFC 194.
Rockhold (14-2) has won four in a row – all via finish – including a submission win over Lyoto Machida this past April.
“We’ll be looking for the takedown, but he won’t get me down,” he said, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “I’m going to shut that down. I’ll be fine on the ground. He’ll have to fight me on his feet. He’s going to scramble out and I see this as a stand-up fight. I’m going to expose his weaknesses.”
Weidman, who is unbeaten and owns victories over the likes of Machida, Belfort and Anderson Silva, has held the title since 2013. Nine of his 13 career wins have been either knockouts or submission victories, including three of his last four.
Despite the middleweight belt being the “bigger” in terms of weight of the two set to be defended in December, Rockhold and Weidman will play the co-main event role to a featherweight unification match pitting Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor.
And that’s fine by Rockhold.
“I don’t have a fighting country behind me! The Irish are behind Conor, and Jose is the longest reigning champion,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and perform and make that night my night.”