ByDanny Acosta, writer at
Danny Acosta

Head coach Jason Parillo has been with Michael Bisping for many highs and lows throughout the Brit’s career. That includes the current three-fight win streak, which has Bisping riding the high of beating former middleweight champion Anderson Silva in London in February.

It was Parillo’s job to convince Bisping to sacrifice said win streak and himself to fill in the UFC 199 headliner against middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on roughly three weeks notice.

There were many points Parillo addressed arguing for seizing the opportunity. A major sticking point was fighting on short notice simply saves them the stresses of a grueling title fight training camp.

According to Parillo, Bisping hits pads equally hard and fast on the first day of training camp as the last day. The only difference is the cardio, but Bisping’s will is capable of carrying him through the hard rounds from day one, even if it involves screaming, yelling and hollering. “He has a special heart,” Parillo said on the May 19 edition of The Countdown on SiriusXM Rush 93. “He has a resting heart rate of [35] beats per minute.”

A resting heart rate isn’t exactly listed on tale of the tape. Parillo brought it up to illustrate it is Bisping’s time. It’s admittedly corny but he’s pitching this is Bisping’s moment.

“I know what I’m talking about -- we’re going to win this fight,” Parillo said. “Rockhold doesn’t understand. Actually, it’s not even about Rockhold. It’s about Michael Bisping right now. It’s about the fact that he’s been dealing with pressure his whole life. He throws pressure on his f--king back.”

Parillo sensed something in the air before and after Bisping’s achievement versus Silva. When Bisping accepted a movie role in Toronto, he called “The Count” and planted seeds, advising him to stay in shape. Opportunities arise at any moment, including inopportune times. Obviously fight shape is different. Parillo insisted that conversation two months prior to Bisping being granted the title fight he’s worked his whole life for began the mental preparation for this short-notice situation. Now it’s about maintaining belief the situation will work in their favor through the fight itself.

Photo by Amy Kaplan
Photo by Amy Kaplan

“We’re in a little bit of a panic because we’re hyped up on this situation,” Parillo said. “It’s hard for us to believe we’re getting another chance on this because the way the company hasn’t gave him a chance yet. Michael’s done a lot of things and fought a lot of people.”

It is a do or die type scenario for the 37-year-old Bisping, especially if Rockhold continues holding the belt, a third fight with Rockhold might be impossible to force when he’s down two losses.

For Parillo, defeat is not a possibility here because he witnessed Bisping at his lowest point competitively after Silva floored him with a jumping knee in round three of their fight. Parillo looked at his busted up fighter and saw something that’d turn the fight around.

“That wasn’t my first barbecue looking at a man in a corner that’s gutted,” Parillo said. “I’m looking at a guy that was willing to die there. I look in a man’s eyes and I know if he wants to quit or not. I looked in his eyes and there was not one f--king ounce of quit there.”

Parillo is confident of Bisping’s chances in the rematch with Rockhold -- in Bisping’s first opportunity to become UFC champion -- because that moment. Not only that, Parillo asserted Silva is a better fighter than Rockhold. Rockhold might be a young freak of nature according to Parillo, but he lacks the fight IQ to hold it together for the rematch and fend off Bisping’s title aspirations.

“Mike is a very smart fighter and if he goes out there and he does what I know he can do,” Parillo said, “He’s going to be the world champion.”


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