Costa Philippou: Michael Bisping's Path to a Title Shot Goes Through Me

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Costa Philippou: Michael Bisping's Path to a Title Shot Goes Through Me
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Costa Philippou still has no opponent lined up but would face Vitor Belfort.

Add Costa Philippou to Michael Bisping's long list of complainants.

UFC middleweight Philippou (12-2-1) was originally scheduled to face Ronaldo Souza in May, but was forced out of the match after suffering a cut during training. In the subsequent jockeying, Bisping targeted Philippou before ultimately reversing course and instead accepting a fight with Mark Munoz.

Bisping's decision apparently left Philippou feeling a little miffed.

“I really wanted to fight Michael Bisping. He mentioned my name a few times. I don’t know why he decided to go a different way," Philippou said Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast. "They had me ranked higher than Munoz. I said I’d go to Manchester and fight him. But I have five wins in a row in the middleweight division. He never had five wins in a row in the middleweight division…I don’t get it.”

Philippou stopped short of stating outright that he believed Bisping was ducking him but said he believed Bisping's road to a middleweight title shot would have to wind through him.

“You know what? I hope he beats Munoz," said Philippou. "And then he has to fight me before he gets a title shot. I don’t think he gets a title shot unless it goes through me. How’s that?”

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The Bisping-Philippou contest was suspected to take place in Manchester, England, which is where Bisping-Munoz will now be held.

In the meantime, Philippou said he does not have an opponent. Current speculation has Philippou potentially facing Vitor Belfort, who has won four in a row as a middleweight.

On Monday, Philippou repeated his previous assertion that he would fight Belfort anywhere except in Belfort's native Brazil—largely because of concerns that Brazil's lax standards regarding testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) could give unabashed TRT user Belfort an unfair advantage.

"I just don’t want to fight him in Brazil,” Philippou said. “We can do the fight in the States. We can do the fight anywhere but Brazil. I don’t want to fly to Brazil. I don’t want to play by their rules. And I definitely don’t want him to be able to be comfortable and use TRT.”

Also during the interview, Philippou said he'd be "honored" to fight Wanderlei Silva at middleweight, calling Silva a "legend" of the sport.

Others who have said they'd like to fight Bisping include Cung Le, Hector Lombard and Luke Rockhold. 

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