Apparently no one was asking him a few weeks ago, but just to fill everyone in, Michael Bisping is pissed off.
If it wasn’t evident on Monday’s media conference call for UFC 159, there was Thursday’s reminder and mild threat of a near scuffle during a face-off following a media day for the pay-per-view Bisping and Alan Belcher serve as the co-main event of. The sometimes-brash Brit is a little peeved at Belcher and plans to take it out on him Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Bisping (23-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) also doesn’t believe Belcher (18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is on his level. But let’s get through the anger issues first.
Bisping is riled up over a video Belcher put online that shows “The Count” suffering the first knockout loss of his career, a vicious pair of punches from Dan Henderson at UFC 100, with a superimposed Belcher pointing at him and laughing.
“I’m really annoyed with him for doing that,” Bisping on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “And guess what? I get to step inside a cage on Saturday night and fight him. Because what I’d like to do is beat him up for that. But I can’t do that, because it’s the year 2013 and you get arrested. That’s not the way you behave. I get paid a s—load of money to do just that. So I’m a happy man. He’s made my job so much more enjoyable and given me more motivation to do that. Ordinarily, maybe in the ’60s you could go around and ‘chin’ someone now and again. Now it’s frowned upon, and Saturday night I get paid to do that.”
It’s not the first time Bisping has been riled up for a fight. And that may be all the better for him. He fights better, he said, when he’s angry.
With two losses in his past three bouts, a win becomes of the utmost importance if Bisping hopes to crawl his way back into title contention.
“(I fight) way better – I’m a different animal,” he said. “Me pissed off is a way better fighter. Some people are, and some people lose focus. I’m way better like that.”
But with a lot of focus on UFC 159's main event between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, some people may have inadvertently forgotten about Bisping-Belcher until Bisping jacked up the volume on this whole anger thing.
But really, Bisping wouldn’t blame you if you had forgotten about the fight.
“Nobody’s been asking because nobody’s interested in Alan Belcher,” he said. “So that’s the reason I haven’t talked so much. But now we’re here and there’s an opportunity to talk, and I’m certainly not shy about talking. But my phone wasn’t going every day because I was fighting some retard from Mississippi.”
A little crude and a little harsh? Perhaps.
But Bisping simply isn’t on board with Belcher being in the same league as he is – tough he did acknowledge his opponent brings some wagons to the table.
“I know I’m going to win. It’s as simple as that,” Bisping said. “This is very different from fighting Rashad Evans or Vitor Belfort or something like that. Alan Belcher, OK? A bit different, guys.
“He’s a good fighter. He is. He does all the necessary things you’ve got to do to be successful in the UFC. He’s been in the UFC almost as long as I have. Of course I’ve prepared accordingly. But he’s been fighting a very different level of competition.”
Belcher this past December had a four-fight win streak snapped when he lost a decision to Yushin Okami for the second time in his career. But before that, he had stoppage wins over Rousimar Palhares, Jason MacDonald, Patrick Cote and Wilson Gouveia.
To borrow from the infamous Georges St-Pierre-to-Matt Hughes line, Bisping sees Belcher’s performances, and he isn’t impressed.
“The best thing was not getting submitted by Rousimar Palhares,” Bisping said. “Other than that, his best win would probably be Patrick Cote. No offense to Patrick Cote, but he’s not exactly one of the best. I’d say that’s the best win of his career.”
Bisping is a slight favorite in the fight, but where he believes he has a big advantage is when it comes to the prefight war of words.
Words won’t matter on Saturday, of course. But for now, Bisping is taking a good amount of joy in what he believes is a win in the mental game before the fight starts.
“I’ve definitely gotten into his head,” he said. “It’s easy to trash talk like this, but when we were on the conference call to each other, he didn’t say two words. He was like a little schoolboy. I’ve been there – I’ve been him. I’ve been the guy fighting the established guy who’s always in the main event.
“You get caught up in that moment a little bit, and we’ll see if he rises to the challenge. I don’t think he will.”
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