Luke Rockhold's firing back at Anthony Smith ... a fighter he says is a soft, talent-less bitch who'd get OWNED in a fight with the former UFC champ.
TMZ Sports talked to Luke after he was BLASTED by Smith at a UFC press conference ... where Anthony called him "a f**king piece of sh*t" and promised to "beat that dude's f**king ass.”
Smith hates Luke's guts ... and the feeling's mutual.
"I don't think much of Anthony Smith. I don't think he's very tough, technical, talented. He ain't got what it takes."
Rockhold thinks Smith sucks as a fighter, but he's still down to fight him ... especially after Smith said he'd "drill a hole thru Luke Rockhold’s f**king face."
Luke's response ... "He's not gonna be drilling nothing. I will own that kid from start to finish, anywhere he wants to go."
Both guys have fights booked this summer (Luke's fighting Jan Błachowicz at UFC 239) -- and seem to be on a collision course with each other -- but Rockhold says Smith should talk less about him and concentrate on his opponent, Alexander Gustafsson.
"He better focus on the fight coming up, cause my opinion is he's about to get his ass kicked," Rockhold says ... "So go out there go take your ass-whoopin', and come talk to me afterwards."