Michael Bisping Blasts Tim Kennedy, Says Fighters Should Call out the Champ

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIMarch 11, 2014

Apr 26, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Michael Bisping weighs in for his middleweight bout against Alan Belcher (not pictured) at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If Michael Bisping entered a popularity contest he'd likely win the fighter's vote. It seems as though everyone in the middleweight division wants a chance to face off with "The Count."

But Bisping, speaking with MMA Fighting's Dave Doyle, thinks everyone's focus should be elsewhere, not on him:

Listen, when I beat Tim Kennedy I'm calling out the winner of [Lyoto] Machida and [Chris] Weidman, I want to beat the champion. I never understand why you call out the No. 4 guy. If you in that position, why do you call out the No. 4 guy? Call out the goddamn champion.

Bisping does have a point. When middleweights engage in call-outs, it seems Bisping is a name that's always brought up. A fighter who has made it a point to repeatedly call out the Englishman is Tim Kennedy, a former Strikeforce title contender. Here's Bisping on Kennedy:

I think Tim Kennedy more concerned with his image, to be honest, and selling stupid t-shirts and he can tell his friends ‘I'm badass, I'm Special Forces and now I'm in the UFC and I'm a fighter.' For me, it's not about that, it's a way of life and you'll see the difference when we step in the Octagon.

Kennedy has gone the usual route and the creative route in his attempts to get a fight with Bisping. Kennedy finally got his wish and the two will square off at the TUF: Nations Finale, but it hasn't stopped Kennedy from launching verbal salvos at "The Count."

But Bisping isn't fazed (warning: the tweet below is certainly NSFW):

He said a few things about me personally, he said a few things about my fighting. He's just constantly talking s--t, that I'm a dirty fighter, I'm disrespectful, I disrespect the sport, this and that. When you're going to fight a guy, you've got to watch tapes of him. For him to call me a dirty fighter is just ridiculous, because, in between falling asleep when I'm watching his fights, because he's extremely boring, there's plenty of eye pokes and kicks to the balls in there, so if anyone is a dirty fighter, it's the pot calling the kettle black.

Despite being one of the most popular contestants on his season of The Ultimate Fighter, fans quickly soured on Bisping's act. Whether he's playing up "the bad guy" image or that's simply how he is, fans are quick to let their displeasure known any time Bisping walks into an arena.

It didn't help that Bisping coached opposite quintessential American Dan Henderson on The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom prior to their showdown at UFC 100.

Bisping's reputation also suffered drastically after his fight with Jorge Rivera at UFC 127. He landed an illegal knee to his opponent and walked over to Rivera's corner and (allegedly) spat at Rivera's cornermen.

The Englishman's latest victory at UFC 159 was also filled with controversy as Alan Belcher's eye began to bleed all over the canvas from a Bisping eye poke.

Many MMA fans hope that Bisping and Kennedy will give each other a severe beating. Bisping is among the best heels in the UFC, and Kennedy's social media presence is annoying at best to most fans.

Either way, at least the trash talk among these two has made some interest in a TUF card that was seriously lacking in drawing power.