Michael Bisping is easily one of the most divisive fighters in the sport of MMA today. I'm English and I don't particularly like the guy! However, I do think he is underrated and takes some unfair flack.
Be it his 'scouse' nature, his controversial win over Matt Hamill, or his over exposure by the UFC, the guy is just generally disliked. The chorus of cheers as he was brutally KO'd be Dan Henderson at UFC 100 are evidence of that.
Despite my dislike of him, I am not one of these people who think he is overrated; if anything, I think he gets a raw deal. When you look at his record, Bisping has amassed an 18-2 record with his only losses being against Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson.
That's quite impressive by anyone's standards. When you consider how close his split decision loss to Rashad Evans was, and the fact that Henderson landed one of the sweetest right hooks ever landed in an octagon, his record gets better.
I hear you all scream Matt Hamill...well, I don't think Hamill was such a convincing winner; a draw was probably a fair result. So Bisping has probably been on either side of close split decisions. Give the guy a break. It's not his fault!
At 4-1 in the Middleweight division, Bisping has the chance to elevate his reputation with his fight at UFC 110. Will his upcoming battle down under with Wanderlei Silva give the TUF Four winner the respect he deserves and win over a few fans?
Seemingly written off already by many in his chances at UFC 110, Bisping has been training hard and speaking confidently ahead of his fight with the 'Axe Murderer.' He said this to the Telegraph in the UK:
"We have been discussing tactics for the fight, little tips and discussions about Wanderlei’s movement and shots, and Rampage thinks I will beat Wanderlei easily. He has inspired me and has kept confidence in the camp high. I have to keep my composure in this fight. We know what Wanderlei does – he throws aggressive shots with reckless abandon, and I’m psyched to put my game plan into practise. I have nothing but respect for Wanderlei, but I do believe I’m a better technical fighter and more well-rounded."
He went on to add,
"I was very happy when it was announced that my opponent would be Wanderlei Silva. I want to prove I am at this level. I made a mistake against Dan Henderson, but that is the level I want to fight at – and I want membership to that level by beating fighters like Wanderlei Silva."
The Wolfslair fighter certainly has a better chance then most people are giving him in his upcoming fight. He showed in his last fight against Denis Kang that he can take hard shots, and I think he showed a new level in his ground game that was an obvious change in strategy.
Will that be enough against Wanderlei? Well, I am going to go out on an early limb and say yes. The guy is constantly over looked, and I think he learnt his lesson the hard way against Henderson—that to join the "next level" you need your game to be tight.
Wanderlei has not looked like the fighter of old with his only recent win being over Keith Jardine. With this being his first fight at Middleweight I think this could be a fight that opens up the eyes of the MMA world that Michael Bisping has arrived and the UK fighter will join that elusive "next level."
If anything, at least this video should get you pumped for this fight!