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UFC 199's Luke Rockhold: Anderson Silva is not on my level -- and never was

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Esther Lin

Hey, remember when former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Anderson Silva was calling for a Luke Rockhold fight back in 2012? Thank goodness that never happened, or "The Spider" would have been squished long before Chris Weidman entered the equation.

After all, Silva is not -- and never was -- on Rockhold's level, according to the champ's recent comments on UFC Tonight, insisting that Michael Bisping's recent win over the aging Brazilian was a poor indication of how well "The Count" will perform in the upcoming UFC 199 pay-per-view (PPV) main event.

His words:

"Bisping stays true to who he is. He always fights to the best of his ability. Bisping was dominating. This is a completely different fight. Anderson Silva isn't on my level. He never was. Bisping doesn't know the jump I've made. I've learned more. I've gained more. He's the same man. Weidman doesn't have a chance and [Bisping] doesn't have a chance. None of these guys have a chance. I'm going to find my mark. Hopefully Bisping can keep running his mouth and get people excited and keep putting money in my pocket."

"Rockhold vs. Bisping 2" goes down this Saturday night (June 4, 2016) in Los Angeles, Calif. (details).

Rockhold already handled Bisping by way of second-round submission in late 2014, then went on to score consecutive wins -- and finishes -- over Lyoto Machida and the aforementioned Weidman, who was bounced from the UFC 199 headliner with neck issues.

So, prime Rockhold vs. prime Silva ... who takes it?