It was an odd panel FOX assembled moments after Luke Rockhold dominated Lyoto Machida on Saturday night. Sitting alongside host Curt Menefee was Daniel Cormier, who minutes earlier was cornering his buddy Rockhold, and reigning UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who could very well be facing Rockhold before the year is out.
Former UFC middleweight Brian Stann was also along for the ride.
In not so many words, Cormier essentially said Weidman was frantically pacing around the anchor desk racking his brain on how to dodge a potential showdown with Rockhold. Cormier said this right to Weidman’s face.
Clearly, having Cormier on set was a conflict of interest, but it made for great TV.
“There is a guy in this arena that sat in his seat, and he didn’t just sit back, he stood up, sat down, stood up, sat down, walked around the desk and tried to find a reason to not have to stand across the cage from Luke Rockhold. That guy is Chris Weidman,” an emotional Cormier stated. “He knows right now that there is a real lion in this weight division, as you are yourself, my friend (pointing to Weidman), but Luke Rockhold showed tonight … ”
Weidman, who did his best to keep a smile on his face while the primetime cameras were rolling, quickly chimed in.
“Hey, hey, hey. Let’s stop talking over there, alright, big guy,” Weidman interrupted Cormier. “It’s all about matchups. He did amazing against Lyoto Machida, but that’s not me. He’s gonna have to deal with a whole different game plan. It’s a completely different ball game.”
Sure, Weidman needs to first successfully defend his throne against Vitor Belfort at UFC 187 before a potential showdown with Rockhold can be arranged, but that doesn’t mean “All-American” hasn’t already sized up the former Strikeforce middleweight champ.
“It’s a great matchup for me,” Weidman said of facing Rockhold. “He is a very well-rounded fighter, but he doesn’t have an expertise in anything,” said Weidman “I think that’s going to be the problem he has to face with me.
“I’m a master at wrestling, I’m a master in jiu jitsu. Striking, I’m an expert in, as well. I’m the best at everything. He’s in trouble.”
Here’s the friendly/intense segment:
Rockhold later joined the crew to add some spice in the pot (Rockhold sends Weidman a message at 4:05 mark):