Jake Shields and Hector Lombard appear to be on the same page.
That's not to suggest they like each other, but both mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters recognize just how talented the other is, heading into their welterweight showdown on Saturday night (March 15, 2014) at UFC 171 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
But once you get past the talent, the pleasantries are few and far between.
Earlier this week, "Lightning" called Shields a "boring fighter" who may try to run away from him this weekend in "The Lone Star State." Exactly the type of comment you can expect from a "prick" like Lombard, who Shields insists is disliked by everyone at the gym.
From this week's UFC 171 media scrum:
"I've always thought Hector is a prick. Everybody kind of knows that. He's a really good fighter but as a person, everyone who knows him, no one likes him at the gym. He's the guy who goes after all the new guys, tries to break their ribs, break their arms, knock them out. But as a fighter, he's talented."
That's why Shields has a pretty good shot at getting another crack at the welterweight title, assuming he can make good on his promise to finish Lombard in their 170-pound showdown. Naturally, a lot depends on the outcome of Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley, who also clash at UFC 171 for a spot in the division title chase.
See our full preview of Shields vs. Lombard here.
In the meantime, let's get some early predictions on this mini-welterweight grand prix.