Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold traded verbal blows in a fiery conference call with the media on Thursday evening.
37-year-old Bisping stepped in on two weeks notice to face ufc middleweight champion Rockhold, who had been scheduled to face Chris Weidman in a title rematch at UFC 199 on June 4.
It is Bisping’s first title shot after ten years in the UFC, and he says he is ready to redeem himself from a 2014 submission defeat at Rockhold’s hands.
As reported by MMA Fighting, Bisping said:
Look I’ve got nothing against you, Luke, personally, we’re both competitors. We’re in the same weight class. Yeah, you hold a victory over me, and I want to rectify that. I wish you all the best. Listen, we’ve got mutual friends, I’m sure you’re a great guy.
But for me, I have to win this belt. I have to beat you to get a chance at redemption. You’re very, very confident that you’re going to humiliate me, listen — do not underestimate me, my friend, okay? Alright, you did well, you beat me once, try and pull it off twice. It has never happened before, and it will never happen. Believe you me, if you saw the way I was sparring right now you wouldn’t be so sure about it.
I know exactly who you are. I know exactly who all these guys are. I’m not underestimating you, I know exactly who you are. And I know exactly what I’m going to do. That’s the difference between me and you and the rest of these guys. I know what I’m going to do, and the rest of you guys think you know what you’re going to do.
Bisping was reacting angrily to comments from the champion, who once again suggested he could retire the TUF 3 winner.
I want to keep myself competing and obviously making dollars. Going out there and getting to shut Mike’s mouth, and getting to shut all these guy’s mouths, all these guys have made excuses — Mike, Chris Weidman, Jacare [Souza]. Guess what, I beat them all. And I’m going to beat them all again, one at a time they’re all going to get theirs.
Mike, he’s a tough dude, he took this fight, but this will not be his fairy tale. This will be his swansong. This will be the end of him. I am going to go out there and dominate this guy like he’s never been before.
You earned this, I’ll give you that. You earned this fight. You beat a champion. You beat a champion in Anderson Silva and you would have probably won that fight handily if you didn’t complain about your mouthpiece and get clipped. But, you will not be a champion. I will humiliate you next week. It’s going to be so one-sided
Rockhold closed by promising the challenger a ‘bad night’, but Bisping once more replied confidently.
We’ll see about that when you’re on the floor and you’re looking up at the stars and thinking, shit, I just lost my belt to a guy that came in on two week’s notice, and took your belt that you worked so hard for.
Rockhold is undoubtedly the favourite, but Bisping has paved the way for English fighters before, can he now become the first English UFC champion?