With his legacy in the balance, Michael Bisping is still searching for that elusive major victory (Yahoo! Sports)


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

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 >>

Related News

  • 21 days ago
  • 30 views

"The Count" also believes Lyoto Machida will dethrone Chris Weidman this weekend (Sat., July 5, 2014) at UFC 175 to capture the middleweight title. Following his unanimous decision loss to Tim Kennedy at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale this past April, Michael Bisping wasted no time in asking for another fight. The British banger got what he wanted, as he was pegged to face former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le in the main event of UFC Fight Night 48, which goes down insi more

  • 10 hours ago
  • 27 views

And when "The Count" disposes of Cung Le, he's ready to silence the Strikeforce import. Michael Bisping: Fighter, mixed martial arts (MMA) analyst ... life coach? "The Count" was a recent guest on UFC Tonight, and had some career advice for Luke Rockhold, who is currently waiting for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to find him an opponent. In the interim, he can probably help his own cause by ditching his teenage friends. Says Bisping: "When Luke Rockhold is done making a douche bag out of more

  • 3 hours ago
  • 15 views

Michael Bisping aims to get back into the win column next month when he takes on Cung Le at UFC Fight Night 48, and if he does so successfully, he may already have another opponent waiting in the wings. Bisping and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold have long traded barbs over social media, and the Brit couldn't help but throw in his two cents when asked about Rockhold on Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight. "When Luke Rockhold is done making a douchebag out of himself hanging more

  • 17 days ago
  • 17 views

Legacy Fighting Championship added a pair of jiu-jitsu experts to the September card in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Scheduled for September 26 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Legacy FC 35 will feature the promotional debut of grappling wizards Rafael Lovato Jr. and Justin Rader, Legacy FC promoter Mick Maynard told MMAFighting.com. No opponents for Lovato and Rader have been announced yet. Lovato makes his MMA debut in the middleweight division after a successful career in jiu-jitsu, becoming the second more

  • 17 days ago
  • 76 views

He sat in the corner on a hard stool, blood streaming down his face, drawing heaving breaths between sips of water. A cutman worked on a deep gash above his left eye. Lyoto Machida, former light heavyweight champion of the world, was likely down 3-0 in rounds to the reigning middleweight champion. Chris Weidman, the man who dethroned Machida's friend Anderson Silva (and then beat him again for good measure), was in the midst of proving doubters wrong. The doubters said Weidman beat Silva the fir more

  • 17 days ago
  • 80 views

American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu standouts Rafael Lovato Jr and Justin Rader sign multiple fight deals with Legacy Fighting Championships. Legacy Fighting President Mick Maynard has confirmed that American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champions Rafael Lovato Jr and Justin Rader has signed multiple fight deals with Legacy Fighting Championships and make their debuts on September 26 at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the LFC 35 fight card. Rafeal Lovato Jr. announced about a month ago that he was se more

  • 18 days ago
  • 20 views

Former RFA middleweight champion Kevin Casey made his Octagon debut at UFC 175 on Saturday, and he was more than proud to rep his former promotion by handily defeating former Legacy FC champ Bubba Bush. more

  • 22 days ago
  • 54 views

This summer is proving to be the turning point in the career of middleweight Bubba Bush. The Legacy FC champ will make his promotional debut at UFC 175 on Saturday night. more

  • 23 days ago
  • 32 views

Undefeated Brazilian prospect Leonardo Leite has signed a deal with Legacy FC, and he will debut in a title fight. Unbeaten in MMA, the jiu-jitsu and judo specialist will make his promotional debut in a five-round fight against Myron Dennis in September, Legacy FC promoter Mick Maynard confirmed to MMAFighting.com on Monday. The light heavyweight showdown will headline the Legacy FC 35 card in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brazilian Top Team product Leite made his transition to MMA in 2013 with a first-round more