“I’m hoping Chris is the guy to [push me furthest]. I don’t think I’ve even come close to my potential. If I get a guy that can take my shots and withstand my arsenal for the first round or two, I think you’re going to see the best of me, coming forward… I’m a slow starter. I get more relaxed. I get looser. I get more technical, I get faster, and you get to see way more of my game in the later rounds. In sparring, a lot of my best rounds are my third and my fourth. My fifth rounds are sometimes my best of all. I really think the longer Chris hangs in there with me, the better you’ll see of me. I start kind of stiff, and then I understand the movement, the distance, and then I can start loosening up. That’s how fighting should be. That’s how I try to keep my mind. I try to be flawless.”
-Luke Rockhold talks to FoxSports.com about why he hasn’t yet shown his best in the cage, and why he hopes Chris Weidman brings it out of him at UFC 194.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s entirely likely we haven’t seen the best of either of them. There are athletes who only find themselves getting better with time and against the right competition. We saw that on display with UFC 194’s headliner Jose Aldo when he fought Chad Mendes a second time last year. That type of push from an opponent allows some to dig deeper into their arsenal in order to find victory. Rockhold and Weidman have both been brilliant over the last couple of years, and that’s what makes their fight on Saturday night so fantastic. It really is a matchup of two of the most elite athletes and competitors in this division, two men with the striking and respective ground skill to make this perhaps the best fight of the year. We’re only six days away from finding out!
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]