(“NOW, MIKE! GO FOR THE HEEL-HOOK!”)
We’re just nine days away from the greatest inter-continental Villain vs. Villain match in UFC history, as Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping square off for a shot at the middleweight title at UFC on FOX 2. The short-notice nature of the bout means that we won’t be getting as much memorable-trash talk as we could have. But Bisping is doing his best to build some heat, telling FightersOnly:
“Chael’s biggest weapon is his mouth – but this ain’t no kissing contest and he isn’t going to talk me to death. Unlucky for him he can’t hurt me with his mouth in the Octagon and I am going to crush him. I’m in my prime and this is my time…
[H]is wrestling skills will be on point, I’m going to get the best Chael Sonnen possible, I know that. But his jiu-jitsu wont be too slick. Chael Sonnen can take me down if he likes, because I know I can submit him off my back. I know I can. That’s his big weakness. I may not have a black belt, but I consider myself a black belt. I’ve been rolling with Jake Shields, Dean Lister and a wash of other world champions. Believe me, if Chael Sonnen takes me down he better be prepared to get submitted.
Working with these guys recently, these top level jiu-jitsu guys, has really brought on my game and I am so comfortable on my back right now. In the past I have stood fights up a lot but the way I am training right now, I will be delighted if Chael takes me down. If he does, then it will be a short night for him.”
It sounds like Bisping is already preparing for the likelihood that he’ll be on his back more than a porn star with a mortgage. But he’s right to lay his hopes on jiu-jitsu, considering that eight of Sonnen’s 11 losses have come via submission. Though Chael has earned a reputation for being a triangle-choke/armbar victim against Brazilian opponents (Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Paulo Filho, Renato Sobral), he’s been submitted just as often by plain-old white dudes (Jeremy Horn [twice], Forrest Griffin, Trevor Prangley). I guess that should be encouraging to Bisping, in a totally stupid, irrelevant way.
As for Sonnen, the Gangster From West Linn has actually been keeping the personal attacks to a minimum so far, outside of a tweet last night comparing Bisping to Pip on South Park. In fact, Sonnen says he’s the furthest thing from a Bisping-hater, telling USA Today (via MMAMania):
“I’m not on the anti-Bisping bandwagon. I never have been. I think he’s good. I hear a lot of negative things said about him, but I think most of it comes from frustration of maybe his personality or something like that. I think if you’re real objective and you look at his skill set and his in-ring ability, you’ll know that he’s a talented guy. He’s definitely cocky and arrogant, which is two qualities that I like in a person. I like a cocky guy and I like an arrogant guy, so he earns points with me in those regards, but I think it turns a lot of people off … I’ve never even seen Bisping in trouble. I’ve never seen him come out of there cut and scraped and bruised. He seems to go in, take care of business and go home.”
As they say, game recognize game — and heel recognize heel. By the way, Bisping is currently a huge underdog against Sonnen. Should he be?