There is a small handful of UFC fighters who have fully embraced the role of the heel. One of those fighters, Michael Bisping, will be competing at UFC 152, and as is his wont, he is freely offering his opinion. This time that opinion concerns a fighter that many think should be next in line to fight for the UFC middleweight crown, a fight that Bisping clearly covets.
Bisping will face Brian Stann in a middleweight contest when the UFC rolls into the Air Canada Center on September 22, and he has let it be known that he thinks a win over Stann will put him in line to face Anderson Silva for the UFC crown at 185. The problem Bisping has is that a lot of fans and pundits are clamoring for the unbeaten Chris Weidman (9-0) to get that shot if he can get past Tim Boetsch at UFC 155.
Bisping, never one to turn down the opportunity to shine the spotlight on himself, offered a much different take on Weidman when speaking to MMAJunkie.com recently:
He knocked out a fat Mark Munoz, who was out of shape and coming back off a long layoff because of injury. Not that impressive if you ask me. In fact, before that it was Demian Maia – and again, it wasn't impressive. Demian Maia looked terrible in that fight, but so did Chris Weidman. "Oh, he cut this amount of weight." Well that's his [expletive] problem. That's not an excuse, is it? You looked [expletive], plain and simple.
He elbowed a fat Mark Munoz and now he's the great white hype? Just because he elbowed an out-of-shape fat man? Yeah, he's got a streak, and that all counts – undefeated, et cetera – so I suppose you can see the logic, but I disagree.
If Bisping and Weidman both win their next fight, who deserves the next title shot?
Pretty harsh words from a fighter that has gone 6-3 in his last nine fights, including a loss the last time he set foot in the Octagon. In his last outing, Bisping dropped a unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen.
Is Bisping needlessly disparaging the accomplishments of Weidman? Sure, but you know what, he’s getting people to talk. He’s drumming up interest in his fight with Stann this weekend. He’s generating curiosity in a fight that is third from the top on the UFC 152 card, ensuring that fans will want to watch more than the two title fights that will headline the Toronto fight card.
Bisping is that rare breed of fighter who doesn’t seem to care if you love him or hate him. As long as you’re watching him and talking about him, Bisping’s happy. To Bisping, all the world’s a stage and the spotlight shines brightest upon him during the days leading up to a fight.
These are the moments Bisping relishes, the moments when countless microphones and cameras are shoved in his face and he can tell you why he’s so good and why every other fighter who competes at the 185-pound limit is so bad. This is when Bisping shines as a showman, when he gets to walk out to a cascade of boos at the weigh-ins and greet the fans with a smile and a double middle-finger salute.
We have a few more days to hear from “The Count” before we see if he can cash the checks his mouth has been writing. Rest assured, he’ll make the most of those days.