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Exclusive Interview: Michael Bisping


(“The Count,” courtesy of Bisping.tv.)

Though he was impressive as a light-heavyweight — winning The Ultimate Fighter 3 after going 10-0 in England, then beating down Eric Schafer and Elvis Sinosic — two rough split-decisions convinced Michael Bisping to drop to a more competitive weight. And since then, he’s looked absolutely scary. Bisping will be looking to continue his success as a 185-pounder at UFC 89 (October 18th; Birmingham, England), where he’ll take on Chris Leben in the main event; a win would officially make the Liverpool-native a title contender. Ben Zeidler caught up with The Count recently to get his take on his next opponent, the UFC’s middleweight title picture, and that rumor about him being a future TUF coach.

***

CAGEPOTATO.COM: What have you done to prepare for Chris Leben?
MICHAEL BISPING: Well, obviously he’s a southpaw so we’ve been bringing in a ton of southpaws to spar with. I see a lot of problems with him, so I’ve been trying to really step up my training. You know, it’s the all-around game, the all-around training. I’m very focused.

Do you prefer to fight in England? What does it mean to be the hometown favorite every time out?
When I go out there, it’s unbelievable. I can’t even put it into words. I have great memories there, for sure, but the UFC fans are always amazing no matter where I go. The sport is so great and so awesome right now that any fans, in any arena in the world, are just great. Fighting in the UFC is very special to me.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding your UFC 75 win against Matt Hamill. Do you believe you won that fight?
You know what, I want to fight Matt again. It was really close and depending on what you’re looking for, you can make an argument either way. People say that it went my way because it was in the UK, but the UK judge is the one who gave it to Hamill. It was the Americans who gave me the decision. Hamill definitely won the first round, and that’s because I wasn’t prepared mentally. I didn’t focus. He caught me off guard and came out guns blazing. I needed to get in gear and I did. I started to take control, he got some takedowns but I got some on my own accord, and I did more damage. I won 2-1 but it was close. I should have given him more props, but we had some history going into the fight, so I wasn’t prepared. But I do think I won.

We’re talked before about the drop to 185, but now that you’ve done it a few times, is it easy to make? Do you still feel faster? Do you feel as strong?
Absolutely. It’s funny that I feel stronger at 185. My actual weight is coming down to a middleweight size so it’s easier to make that cut. I’m faster and my strength is definitely there. I’m moving weights and lifting like I used to when I was at 205. I feel way more athletic.

Assuming you beat Leben, how many more fights away from the title would you say you are?
I don’t know, it’s tough to say. Maybe one or two more fights…two more good wins against solid opponents, and I would say that I deserve it.

Is there anybody you’d particularly want to get a crack at before Anderson Silva?
Nah, no one in particular. I don’t have any problems with any of the guys in my division and I’d like to keep it that way. I want to be champion and I want to fight Anderson Silva. I think it would be a good match and if I beat Leben, keeping my fingers crossed, I can get in line for a shot. I want to fight the best.

Are you looking for a rematch with Rashad Evans?
It’s funny you asked me that, I get asked that all the time. To be honest, I know it’s my only defeat but right now I want to focus on my [middleweight] career. When I’m done with that, I’d love to fight him again. I was in the headlights last time because it was my first main event. And it was a split decision loss, so I definitely want to take that back.

What’s the story with you potentially being a coach for The Ultimate Fighter: US vs. UK?
(Long pause) I haven’t heard anything yet. To be honest, if they do that show and they need a UK coach, I think I’d be the main man for the job. I’m definitely interested in it. I love coaching and I would relish the opportunity to work with some of these guys. I love being involved in The Ultimate Fighter obviously, since it led to my own career in the UFC.

In your opinion, is there talent to be discovered in the UK?
Yeah, I’d say that there is. We have lots of grass roots talent and lots of gyms. This is a great opportunity for the UK.

What do you think the addition of Quinton Jackson and Cheick Kongo will mean for Wolfslair?
It’s awesome. It expands the level of everything. It attracts more and more people. We have a bunch of guys from the States, some of the best guys in the UK, and we even have live-in accommodations. Everyone wants to train with us and it’s raising the level of our training.

Have you trained with Quinton?
Yeah, we train together every day.

Do you think Juanito Ibarra was stealing from Rampage?
It’s not my business, so I’m not going to comment on that.

Are UFC fighters being paid fairly?
I can only talk about my own experiences. As far as I’m concerned, they pay me very comfortably. I feel like I am special to them, and like I’m in a family. It’s great money and I’m a very happy man. I can’t understand why some people complain about salaries. They sign a contract and they know what they’re getting into. If you don’t like it, go work for another company. If you have a problem, go speak to them. I’m very happy with how I am paid.

What kind of fight can people expect to see when you take on Chris Leben?
I think he’ll come out hard and you can expect the same from me. I’m gonna put on an exciting fight and get the victory.

Thanks, Mike. Any sponsors you want to thank?
Absolutely. I just signed a new big deal with Ecko and they’ve been helping me out. I’ve been very fortunate to have many great sponsors through the years. Bisping.tv is my site so check that out, find out what I’m up to, send me an email. And thanks to all the fans for getting behind me.

Cagepotato Comments

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See you Jimmy- December 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm
Mike Bisping is a great fighter and who are you to question judges who do this thing every day? Just cos you watch a few fights don't mean you are an expert in the field. Bisping beat Hamill, Hamill had the first round, as Mike says but that was all. PMSL at some of the names and comments. You guys are crazy. I am from Scotland, and love the Brits and the Yanks but I don't see myself as being a part of "Britain". I am Scottish, not British. I wish I was American! Man you guys have such a better government! Peace and big up the Count.

HAHAHA- October 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm
HAHAHAHAAHH. came for the fight comments (bisping lost to hammill, everyone knows it......and got free shots on lebens head but couldnt finish) but laughed my ass off to the UK people making insults. Yank knob heads??!!! HAhaha retarded. mum......aaaaahahahaha
doink clowns mums fanny staaaaanks of kipper- October 6, 2008 at 3:20 pm
end of my cock is beetroot colour and its stuck up yr mums kebab
ciaran- October 5, 2008 at 9:34 pm
reading the comments on here makes me laugh. When ever there is an argument about UK vs USA with the we bailed you out the war type shit you know all the commentators must be under 12. Atleast I hope so for your sakes coz anyone over the age of 12 who is involved in these silly arguments should be embarrassed. Your faces should be beetroot red with embarrasment right now.
GEORGE BUSH- October 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm
OOOps look what shit i've started this is nealy as bad as when i sent Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles to look for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq....

hey KevBo the Homo
(England dont need to post 140,000+ to get the job done and if your boys had their eyes tested before they went out there we wouldnt have to worry about getting shot in the F**KING backs!!)

The USA rock, our banks are F**kED but we'll take the whole F**KING world down with us.......
doink the clown sister skweal like captured rabbit- October 1, 2008 at 12:49 pm
jesus doink yr good what colour am i thinking of. i hav yr mum gaged an baged in my room right now she fucking luuuuuuuuuuuvs my british beef although she ant really got a fucking choice the dirty littlle slag.she likes suckig ballacks anyway she told me her son showed her how to do it good but i dont alow her to talk so i beat the munta with a cattle prod.and if you dont like bisping why r u posting here or yr paki m8
espoltea- October 1, 2008 at 2:16 am
well....its been said but i'll put it different.

to knock leban out you need to hit his ass with the kitchen sink

to knck b boy out well...i think leban might be able to.


the problem leban will face will be with b boys technical skills.


leban can get sloppy, b boy does not get sloppy

leaban in all his sloppyness still will hit you with 100% power and lay you out

to beat leban would be a momentous victory but i just need to see the second round before i really know who will win. cuz we know leban has been geting on some other shit.


does bisping have his own academy with students? sure fighting frightening blk dudes can get you ready, but when a martial artist like leban, who has been teahing and fighting up to this point, you have to give the advantage to the teacher, leban will notice mistakes and for a knock out artist thats all you need.
Doink the clown- October 1, 2008 at 12:35 am
Kevbo Uk weirdo is in man love with Mike Bisbing. He wants to smoke his pole. He has a big poster of Bisbing on the ceiling of his room so he can jerk off .

Ps Now you can write back how you raped my mom or something. Good one faggot!
i dont sweat u- September 30, 2008 at 11:30 pm
suck my fat english cock u fucking american peasants talk yr shit cos i can already smell the victory staaaaaaaaaaaaanks stronger than yr mums slopy twat man. am goin 4 this one when bisping wins am gona jump over the barrier a beat some sad american twat with my size 9ns and choke the bastard with his american flag ha ha ha then stick my ballaks in his girlfriends face.so u talk shit but leben will not be the only american getting a fucking kicking roll on ufc 89
kevbo mum is a fucking munta- September 30, 2008 at 3:33 pm
and when did scotland and ireland beat us u spaztic fuck they r part of britain.jesus i skipped history and i make u look like a mengi lepor
kevbo mum is a fucking munta- September 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm
usa only join at the end of the war and take the glory after most of fighting was done.u fukt up in vietnam u speak our language and the only reason u joined is because america was next if germany won germany was on there ass when america joined.also the sun never used to set on the british empire half the fucking world speaks our language not bad for a country smaller than california and were fighting yr war for u now u paki bastard u got the weapons but yr troops r little mincers building yr mcdonalds in afghanistan bases yr a fucking joke and yr mums fanny fucking stinks.SAS google it u window licker and tell yr gran to sort her jenny warts out u smelly cunt
Kevbo- September 30, 2008 at 2:21 pm
@ "GEORGE BUSH"

We should have let Germany take England instead of saving your arses. England lost to Scotland, Ireland, and the US. How did you ever "bale" us out?! You can't possibly be talking about the 10 soldiers that you have in I and A. Compare it to the 140,000+ we have there. Nothing that ever comes out of England and betters itself admits that it's from there or ever goes back. Drink your warm urine beer and keep on biting with those F'ed up teeth.

PS George Bush is a douchebag so I am sure the name suits you.
ninja stick- September 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm
I am looking forward to a strong stand-up war between Chris and michael, being English and watching the BISPING HAMILL fight live at the O2, i thought Hamill won the fight and so did everyone else except Michael of course... And i didnt think he did enough when fighting Evens and thats why he lost... but i think you'd agree that he has improved since dropping to 185 and you can only beat the fighters put infront of you.
It also seems like Rich and Hendo's 205 fight should give the winner of this a crack at the Spider....
Griff- September 30, 2008 at 10:27 am
Agree with you there Elusive.

Structured criticism is fine, but racism and abuse for either fighter is just puerile.

Personally, I would like to see Bisping win this fight. How he looks against Leben should determine whether or not Silva should be his next fight. From previous opponents and Silva's domination right now, I believe that having those two extra 'solid' fights will help him a lot more than going up for a title shot.
--- September 30, 2008 at 10:21 am
I also think Matt Hamill, and I hope for a rematch between these guys. I hope Bisping wins clearly this time then!
Elusive- September 30, 2008 at 7:56 am
Start moderating these replies and hand out some IP bans ffs or normal people will stay away
GEORGE BUSH- September 30, 2008 at 6:14 am
Hey "Snow dripping out of the end of my knob man" The Count said he lost the first round and not the fight you toby jug!!!! And Fuck Bisping how many times do we have to bale your chicken shit Army of G I JANES fags out???
And for the record t thought The Count lost the fight fair and square you YANK KNOB HEADS!!!!!!!
Fuck Bisping- September 30, 2008 at 4:31 am
hamill beat bisping...everyone knows it...bisping should go back to eating crumpets and tea...fuck bisping and fuck england...not one decent fighter has come from that shithole country...bunch of fruty fags....
hooligun- September 30, 2008 at 4:23 am
Rule Britannia!
Kim Couture is a cunt- September 30, 2008 at 2:34 am
I hope Leben punches his snotty, english accent right out of his mouth. Fuckin guy, he may have looked great in his last two bouts but him not stepping up to the plate and owning the fact he got beat by Hamill left me boiling.
BIG CHRIS SUCKS PAKI SHLONG- September 29, 2008 at 10:57 pm
and leben didn't cry on tuf piss on someones bed and get beaten by florian and kos then smashed the house up broke the rules only guy he beat was jason thacker ha ha.big chris r u sure its not because he is english why u hate him u cocksucking spaz
BIG CHRIS- September 29, 2008 at 10:39 pm
Chris Leben is going to kick the crap cakes out of this cry baby....The only back story between Bisping and Hammill was that Hammill was getting more attention from Tito on the TUF show, so all Bisping was doing whining and crying about it, Matt would have ripped him apart on the show if he didn't get hurt....The only reason the UFC pays this goof so much is because he sells tickets in the UK....I hope Leben knocks this fool out in wicked fashion, otherwise the UFC paid judges are gonna give it to their UK poster boy.
your father- September 29, 2008 at 9:21 pm
bisping is probably my favorite fighter right now. he'll beat the mother of christ out of leben
Raw Head Rex- September 29, 2008 at 8:58 pm
I will pee on his chest while he sings praises of my name. its some seriously hot pee too.
mayhem420- September 29, 2008 at 8:56 pm
Looking forward to this fight, it should be good.
I dont dislike either fighter but I kinda think Leban can take this one.
Bisping has the better gas tank and footwork but Chris has heavy hands and a strong chin....kinda stoked for this one.
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