After earning a unanimous decision victory over Brian Stann at UFC 152 this past weekend, Michael Bisping’s confidence is riding high. The UFC middleweight joined MMA Fight Corner Wednesday night and has no doubt in his mind that he’s the current number one contender in the division. He also made it clear that it’s his time for a title shot, and not Chris Weidman’s.
Since moving to California about a year ago, Bisping’s found a fresh start and coaches he credited for making his skill set stronger, especially his wrestling coach, Jackson Dallas. Throughout the Stann fight, Bisping utilized takedowns and a jab that repeatedly found a home.
“The fight went as planned. It would have been nice to stop him obviously, but he’s a tough guy and you can’t put them all away,” Bisping said of Stann. “I think other than one, big punch at the end of the first round, I was in control the whole time.”
Bisping’s jab kept Stann at bay. He circled away from Stann’s power hand. Bisping added the jab was key to his win, as was his left hook. He added that the jab itself “is quite under utilized in Mixed Martial Arts.”
In a post-fight interview on FUEL TV, Stann said that he felt he’d won the fight against Bisping. Stann also said that even UFC President Dana White had told him after the fight that he thought Stann had won the fight. Bisping explained he had no doubt in his mind that he was the clear cut winner.
“Dana may have said that. Dana says a lot of things. He probably didn’t watch the fight closely enough,” Bisping said. “I’m sure he’ll feel different watching it again. Everybody I spoke to, thought I won the fight. It wasn’t controversial, it wasn’t even close. I was in control the whole time. And for Brian to say that, listen I respect Brian, of course you gotta do what you got to do to make yourself feel better about the situation, the fact of the matter is, he was beat by the better man on Saturday night.”
With this win, Bisping explained he feels reinvigorated and confident that he can take on anyone. As of now, he feels he’s walked out of the shadow that’s hung over his head for years; the stigma of being underrated is gone with this win. Michael believes it’s his time to get a long awaited shot at the title.
“Listen, I’ve done things over the years that maybe have annoyed people, but I think I was being looked over, but I think that’s fallen by the wayside now. I think I proved a lot of people wrong in the Chael Sonnen fight. I was a 4 to 1 underdog and that was a controversial decision. I had a good win over Brian Stann. I think if anyone was to overlook me now, or not to give me the credit I deserve, I think they’d be foolish. That’d be their downfall. I think generally now, the consensus is I’m one of the best and I don’t think I get overlooked now,” Bisping stated. “I think I’ve positioned myself as the number one contender really. I mean, I know Chris Weidman’s in there and he wants his shot, but he’s got to fight Tim Boetsch and he’s got to beat Tim Boestch. And also, he’s only got two decent wins. Other than that, I never heard of Chris Weidman a year ago. I think after Saturday night I put myself in line for a title shot pretty soon.”
But, the burning question in middleweight division still remains. Who will be the next 185 contender to get a shot a UFC Middleweight Champ Anderson Silva? Some have said that Bisping should fight the winner of Chris Weidman vs Tim Boestch taking place on December 29th at UFC 155 and then fight in a title eliminator. It’s also been said that if UFC Welterweight Champ, Georges St. Pierre, gets past UFC Interim Welterweight Champ, Carlos Condit, in their title unification bout at UFC 154 in November, that GSP will face Silva in a superfight. Then you have Silva facing Stephan Bonnar at 205 in a non-title fight in the main event at UFC 153 on October 13th. What if Bonnar can pull off the hail mary and wins? Will Silva want this superfight then? Basically, it boils down to lots of questions, with no clear cut answer.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the UFC wants to do. I will be calling Dana and the UFC tomorrow just to see where we’re up to and what’s going on. I know Anderson’s fighting Stephan Bonnar. I don’t want to wait on the sidelines for a long time. I want to fight as much as possible. I would have no problems taking a fight in the meantime – whether it’s Alan Belcher, Chris Weidman, I don’t care who it is I’m confident in my skill set. I’m confident I can beat guys.”
With a possible superfight between GSP and Silva looming over both the welterweight and middleweight divisions, Bisping explained there were many factors that could play in to that fight not coming to fruition. “I don’t think that’s a guaranteed fight…”I hope not for my own sake, so that when I get my own shot,” Bisping said. “As I say, I’m confident in my ability now. I think I’ve solidfied and cemented myself as one of the top middleweights in the world. I’ve got no problem continuing to fight guys and beat them. If I continue to do that and beat guys, I will get my shot. That’s only a matter of time. I’m not in any rush. Yes, I’d like to fight [Silva] for a shot in a couple of weeks, but if I’ve got to wait a year, six months, two years, I’m going nowhere. I’m going to continue training, I’m going to continue improving and doing what I do. So, I’m not bothered when it comes.”
If Bisping does have to take on the winner of Weidman vs Boetsch in a title eliminator, Bisping spoke on the possibility that perennial underdog, Boetsch, pulls off the upset. “There’s definitely a possibility that Boetsch could upset Weidman. I’d say Weidman has the more polished skill set, but Boetsch is no slouch, he’s no pushover.”
When it came to Weidman, Bisping made it clear that he still finds no reason for all the Chris Weidman hype. NCAA wrestler Weidman is 9-0 in his MMA career. With 5 consecutive UFC wins to his name, Weidman’s been pushing for a title shot of his own. “I’m not sold on Chris Weidman. I don’t see what all the fuss is with Chris Weidman. I’ve got nothing against the guy. He beat Demian Maia in the candidate for the worst fight of the year, a lot of people are forgetting that. He looked decent against Mark Munoz, but Mark Munoz looked terrible and I was never sold on him in the first place. So I think everyone in all due respect just needs to calm down Chris Weidman just because he’s undefeated. He’s undefeated because he’s beaten a bunch of bums. He’s only had about seven fights. I’ve had nearly 30 fights. I’ve been in the UFC when he was still in school probably. So I got nothing against Chris Weidman, but I don’t see him as the Great White Hope that’s going to come in and destroy Anderson Silva. He’s just another middle of the road UFC fighter as far as I’m concerned.”
No matter what comes next in the middleweight division, the question of who the true number one contender is, is becoming clearer. Two fights remain that have contenders in the picture: Alan Belcher vs Yushin Okami and Chris Weidman vs Tim Boetsch. Both will happen at UFC 155 on Dec 29 in Las Vegas, and Bisping will most likely have a seat right beside the Octagon to see what unveils.