NEW YORK – Michael Bisping's telephone wasn't ringing. Reporters weren't calling to talk to him. He wasn't being sought to make personal appearances.

He was preparing for a fight of some significance and it was as if he were an anonymous guy preparing for his pro debut.

It's what happens when you're in Bisping's lot, when you win just about every fight except those that matter the most.

He'll meet Alan Belcher on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 159 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., a critical bout for him in order to keep his title hopes alive.

Bisping is 23-5, but he's known more for his big losses rather than any of his significant wins.

"That's a pattern and a storyline, if you will, and of course I don't want that to be the story of my career," Bisping said during a media scrum at Madison Square Garden.

[Also: How does Jon Jones stack up against the combat greats? ]

Bisping won "The Ultimate Fighter 3" in 2006 and quickly shot up the ranks in the light heavyweight division. In 2007, in the very building where he'll meet Belcher on Saturday, he met another fast-rising light heavyweight, Rashad Evans.

That bout came at UFC 78 and marked the first time he'd headlined a pay-per-view card. Evans won the bout via split decision and two fights later was the light heavyweight champion.

Bisping dropped to middleweight, won three fights in a row and met Dan Henderson at UFC 100 with a title shot against champion Anderson Silva hanging in the balance.

In one of the most famous knockouts in UFC history , Henderson laid out Bisping in the second round.

He's been taunted mercilessly about that loss. Many fans use a GIF of the knockout as their avatar on various MMA forums, and Bisping has taken it in stride, laughing it off.

But in a bid to promote their middleweight fight, Belcher crossed the line, Bisping felt, when he, too, laughed at the knockout.

"The one thing that really upset me is that he did a video and on one of those videos, he superimposed himself onto this image of Dan Henderson knocking me out," Bisping said. "He's there and he's pointing and he's laughing. He's doubling up in enjoyment, laughing his head off at a fighter getting knocked out.

"Me myself, I don't take pleasure in seeing a fellow fighter get knocked out. It happens. Now, if he fought somebody of the caliber I fought, it would have happened to him, believe you me. But he's been fighting guys the caliber of [Yoshihiro] Akiyama and Jason Day. He hasn't been fighting the Vitor Belforts and Dan Hendersons. That's the one thing that really pissed me off. It was disrespectful to myself and disrespectful to the sport. It's a cruel sport. People get knocked out. You don't laugh at that."

Bisping said he still believes, despite the heartbreaking defeats, that he's still going to be able to get back to the top and win that important bout.

He moved to California from his native England to take advantage of better coaching in the United States, he said. He made a number of changes to his team in order to push him to the next level.

Part of his interest is in his overall fitness level. In the past, he allowed himself to balloon up after a fight, and the first part of his next camp would be spent working to get weight off.

[Also: Chael Sonnen's "character" is why he's challenging Jon Jones ]

But after getting knocked out in his last bout by Belfort, Bisping paid attention to his weight and didn't allow himself to put on weight for no reason. As a result, he's been able to eat well during camp and feels it will make a significant difference in his overall fitness level.

It's all part of a strategy to turn things around so that the next time he gets one of those major fights, he can come out on top.

Bisping won't stop believing that someday he'll prove all of his critics wrong and win a world title.

"I'm 34 and I still have a lot of time [left in the sport]," he said. "My body feels good. I still have a long, long career left in me and I'm still improving. Since I've moved to California, I've made a lot of improvements. I'm still hungry; I'm still very, very hungry. Hopefully, [my career] won't be defined [by those losses]."

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
NFL draft first-round winners and losers
Manti Te'o, Geno Smith headline Day 2 NFL draft prospect list
Mack Brown running out of excuses at Texas
Magic Johnson gives up on Lakers' chances

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Michael Bisping Announces Fight with Dan Henderson in Manchester

  • 20 days ago
  • 143 views

Though the UFC has yet to make it official, Michael Bisping took it upon himself to announce his title defense against Dan Henderson. read news >>

Michael Bisping Expects Dan Henderson to 'Cheat' in Reported Rematch at UFC 204

  • 20 days ago
  • 57 views

UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is expecting Dan Henderson to “cheat” in their rumoured rematch. According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Bisping will face the veteran on October 8 in a r read news >>

UFC Hall of Famer Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Carries Olympic Torch in Rio

  • 20 days ago
  • 194 views

From Yahoo Sports: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has long been considered one of the most respected fighters not only in the UFC, but in all of mixed martial arts. He has been a champion under both the Pr read news >>

UFC's Era of Money (and Moneyweight) Fights Has Begun, and There's No Going Back

  • 14 days ago
  • 23 views

Shortly after Michael Bisping realized his career-long goal of capturing the UFC middleweight championship, the question of who he might fight next followed. It is a simple and obvious one, almost ma read news >>

Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson II Announced: Latest Details and Reaction

  • 10 days ago
  • 49 views

Michael Bisping will put his UFC middleweight title on the line in his home town of Manchester against veteran Dan Henderson on October 8. The fight will headline UFC 204 and was confirmed by the UFC read news >>

UFC 204: Bisping vs. Hendo is Official; Includes Belfort vs. Mousasi and Struve vs. Magomedov

  • 10 days ago
  • 6 views

The all-but-confirmed UFC 204 headlining bout between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson is now confirmed, as are several other UFC 204 bouts. read news >>

Watch the UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2 Press Conference Streaming Live at 5 PM ET

  • 6 days ago
  • 7 views

Watch as the stars of UFC 204, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, field questions from the media on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, live from Las Vegas. read news >>

UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2 Press Conference Video Replay

  • 6 days ago
  • 15 views

The headliners of UFC 204, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, fielded questions from the media on Friday in Las Vegas. read news >>

Dan Henderson to Retire After UFC 204: Latest Comments and Reaction

  • 6 days ago
  • 8 views

UFC's Dan Henderson announced Friday that his fight against Michael Bisping at UFC 204 on Oct. 8 will be the final one of his career, via ESPN.com's Arash Markazi. Henderson is 32-14 in his career an read news >>

Bisping seeks vengeance, Hendo wants to leave with belt

  • 6 days ago
  • 0 views

Middleweight champ Michael Bisping will defend his title for the first time at home in Manchester, England on Saturday, October 8 when he takes on MMA icon Dan Henderson in the main event of UFC 204. read news >>