Michael Bisping has never been known as a guy that minces his words. He says exactly what he's thinking at all times. To him, it's your own fault if you take issue with anything that comes out of his mouth.
MMA fans typically love that kind of swagger in their professional athletes, but Bisping is the exception.
Why? I'd say a large portion of fan hatred towards him is due to the simple fact that he's not American. That may sound harsh, but it's true. If Michael Bisping were from somewhere in the heartland, the middle of America, he'd be one of the most beloved fighters on the roster.
No? Okay, probably not. We've seen how well that worked out for Matt Hughes.
At the end of the day, Bisping has given MMA fans plenty of reasons to hate him over the years, American or not.
But he's right when it comes to one thing: If Hector Lombard comes into the UFC, wins a single fight over Tim Boetsch and then earns a title shot against Anderson Silva, it'll be ridiculous.
Massively, massively pissed off. Listen, I understand the UFC's decision, the reason why I haven't had a title shot is because of me, I'm a realist and I understand what's happening. I have been in the position to fight for the title several times and have been in number one contender match-up's (sic) several times.
So I've got no one to blame but myself, I'm not blaming the UFC, I'm not angry with the UFC. If I had beaten Dan Henderson I would have fought for the title but I didn't. If I had beaten Chael Sonnen I'd be fighting Anderson in Brazil, but I didn't. I was robbed by the judges, it wasn't the UFC. So yeah, it's frustrating to see someone coming from Bellator. I will be honest, I have never seen the guy fight once because I've never seen Bellator, I don't watch it, I have no interest.
By all accounts he's an aggressive fighter and he knocks people out, but I have never seen him fight. He could be the best thing since sliced bread, I don't know. But what I do know is that he has never fought in the UFC, so why the [expletive] is he getting a title shot?
Sure, Lombard has a stellar winning streak. But let's take a closer look at that winning streak. More specifically, let's look for wins over any guys who could have been considered top-10 fighters at the time Lombard beat them.
You go look. I'll wait. It won't take you long, because you simply can't find a single top-10—or perhaps even top-15—fighter that Lombard has defeated during this vaunted winning streak. His biggest wins during that time came against Brian Ebersole (who suffered a knee injury in the first round of their 2008 bout) and James Te Huna, who might not even be a top-20 middleweight at the moment.
Winning streaks are impressive, but they shouldn't earn you title shots when every single one of the wins came against guys outside of the top 10 or 15 in the world.
You may not like Michael Bisping, but you can't deny that he's one of the world's absolute best middleweights.
And you can't deny that he has a point here. Bisping hasn't continually fought the guys at the very top of his division, but he's fought far more top-10 fighters than Lombard ever has. He went to an extremely close decision with current number one contender Chael Sonnen earlier this year, and though he lost the fight, I came out with more respect for Bisping's skills than I had going in.
No matter what happens against Boetsch next month, Lombard does not deserve a title shot. But Bisping, if he's able to return from knee surgery and win one more fight, certainly does deserve a crack at the belt.
It's time to give the Brit his due.