Since my fight with Michael Bisping was announced, I’ve read and heard several things that made me feel like I should set some things straight. This is also a good time to let you in on how I’m looking at his recent activity and representation of the UFC middleweight championship.
First things first, there is a broad misconception that I asked for this fight. I did not. This is a fight that I think Bisping has wanted for a while, but I didn’t ask to fight him. It came about because 1. We fought on the same card with both of us scoring two impressive victories, and 2. The fans have overwhelmingly requested this rematch.
Right away, after the Lombard fight, people were saying how I should fight Bisping next, but I honestly didn’t think a whole lot about it because I didn’t think it would happen. The more the fans asked for it, the more the UFC started considering it, and it didn’t hurt that he wanted the rematch, as well. Between him and the fans, they actually managed to make it happen.
Now that the fight is out there, training has begun in earnest for both of us. I saw that he’s started his camp in Thailand, and that’s just something I can’t see myself doing. The idea of new training partners and new coaches just doesn’t seem like it would be a positive way to begin a camp, but hey, I hope he spends his whole training camp over there.
He brought his family with him, and I think that’s a good thing. He has his family at home when he trains, so bringing them with him is probably a benefit, because that kind of support system is found nowhere else in the world.
He has his little distractions, too. I heard Amir Khan wants to try his hand at MMA against Conor McGregor and that Michael has offered to train him. A lot of guys from other sports come into MMA and have these big expectations with a lot of excitement behind them, but once they get involved in the training, they kind of get their eyes opened. I'm not sure how Khan will do in this sport. I wish him the best but we will have to wait and see. I hope Mike does train him, and I hope it’s while he’s training for me.
I’ve been a world champion before, a few times, and one thing I tried to do was to take it all in stride and not make a big deal out of it. You’re the champ and the people in the MMA community know that. When I look at Bisping, he’s doing exactly what you would expect him to do; talk a lot about himself, praise himself and be his own biggest fan.
Some people like him for just that reason, but I can’t say that I’m a fan of that kind of attitude towards being a champion. Of course, he was expected and prompted to bring as much attention to himself as possible if he got that belt, and I think that’s what he’s been doing. You certainly can’t say he’s not following the plan.
I don’t really know the guy, so I can’t say that I have any real animosity toward him. He’s an obstacle to be conquered. He’s had a chance to experience the weight of that belt around his waist. Now, it’s time for me to take it away from him.
Photo from MMA Weekly.