The middleweight division isn’t short on middleweight contenders these days, but according to Luke Rockhold, Lyoto Machida is about to face an opponent who’s different than the rest.

For sometime now, hardcore fans and pundits have known that Rockhold is one of the world’s best 185’ers. But since the former Strikeforce champ has arrived in the UFC, Rockhold has further demonstrated why he’s among the planet’s best. Not only has he showcased nasty, nasty striking skills, but he’s also utilized a dangerous submission game to take out dudes like Tim Boetsch and Michael Bisping.

Of course, Machida has also faced the best-of-the best over his decorated career, but while speaking to MMA recently, Rockhold said this:

“I pose a lot of threats to him, and I can fight him in a lot of ways other people can’t,” Rockhold said. “Machida doesn’t like angles, and he doesn’t like pressure. I can strike with him, I can outwrestle him, I can out-grapple him, and I think I can out-strike him.

“Machida probably thinks he has the superior striking game, but he probably thought he was a better striker than ‘Shogun’ (Rua) and Weidman and Jon Jones. But they were able to out-strike him too. It’s just a matter of me making him think about every aspect of the game, every facet. I’m getting him everywhere, so it’s going to open up everything else. It’s just one thing to the next.”

It’s going to be fascinating to see how he each guy approaches the other, and who can make any adjustments needed. One things for sure, on paper, the bout has the potential to be a very special headliner.

The April 18th, UFC on FOX 15 will be hosted by the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.