Following a year away from the Octagon, Michael Bisping didn’t need any extra motivation to get him ready for his return to the cage this Wednesday night in Quebec, but Tim Kennedy did his part to provide the extra push leading up to the bout.
For the past several weeks, Kennedy has taken part in videos, cartoons and interviews all aimed directly at mocking Bisping in every way, shape and form possible. From taking digs at Bisping’s fighting style inside the cage to anything and everything he’s said out of it, Kennedy has upped the anticipation for this fight while coincidentally doing the same for his opponent..
On paper, Kennedy is a step down for Bisping.
According to the official UFC rankings, Bisping is currently sitting at No. 5 in the world with Kennedy three spots back at No. 8. So in terms of title contention, a win does more for Kennedy than it does Bisping, but the British born middleweight isn’t concerned with his place in the division or a shot at the belt following this bout. All he’s thinking about is Wednesday night, finally stepping into the Octagon with Kennedy, and taking out weeks of frustration on the former Army Ranger turned MMA fighter.
"I’m excited to get in there and just f–k this idiot up, honestly," Bisping told FOX Sports on Monday from Quebec. "He thinks that he’s played mind games and he things that he really got the upper hand. I’m a pretty intense individual and all he’s done is made me more and more intense. I’m more in the zone if you will. He’s going to pay the price on Wednesday night."
While Kennedy has always had fun making videos, including those where he dressed up as Katy Perry at one point, he’s gone above and beyond targeting Bisping for this fight. The former Ultimate Fighter winner is routinely the subject of trash talk from every opponent he’s ever had, but Kennedy has exceeded anything he’s ever done before in the lead up to this bout.
He’s pissing off a lot of people here in Quebec, the UFC staff and things like that, reporters they’re all saying ‘wow he’s walking around here like he’s the second coming of Muhammad Ali’
— Michael Bisping on Tim Kennedy
Bisping believes as much as Kennedy started out trying to be funny, it’s now turned into outright stupidity and it’s beginning to swing the pendulum of support against him.
"He’s going over the top trying to get to me, and ultimately I think that’s going to be his downfall. His downfall in the fight, obviously, because those words are going to come back to haunt him but also his downfall in the way he’s acting. He’s actually turning a lot of fans off, a lot of his own supporters that would normally pick him to win have tweeted me saying the way he’s acting now, I kind of want you to win," Bisping revealed.
"He’s acting like an idiot he really is. When you step in the UFC, this is men, there’s a certain dignity and honor on the line and he’s just acting like a fool, like some kind of court jester. He’s really trying to get the most out of his moment in the limelight, I get that, but the way he’s going about it there’s no other word than he’s being an idiot."
So far this week since the fighters arrived in Quebec, Bisping hasn’t run into Kennedy at all between the open workouts on Sunday nor in the hotel where both of the middleweights are staying. Bisping is a professional fighter and never wants to disgrace the UFC by pulling any kind of antics outside of the cage, but he can’t help but wonder how a chance encounter with Kennedy might go if they cross paths before the weigh-ins on Tuesday.
"Fortunately, I haven’t bumped into him while I’ve been in Quebec yet because I don’t think I could restrain myself," Bisping stated. "Because when I see guy, I’m letting this motherf–ker know, he’s in the deep end and he’s going to pay the price."
Kennedy’s antics and the attention he’s receiving for this fight have also changed his antics since arriving in Quebec, according to Bisping. While he’s not sure how the former Strikeforce middleweight contender behaved in previous fights, Bisping knows that Kennedy is doing everything in his power right now to rub everyone the wrong way.
That includes fans and the UFC staff holding down the show in Canada.
I want to leave him on the floor in a pile of piss and blood and he begs the referee to rip me off him and then I never want to hear Tim Kennedy’s name mentioned in the same sentence as me ever again
— Michael Bisping
"He’s pissing off a lot of people here in Quebec, the UFC staff and things like that, reporters they’re all saying ‘wow he’s walking around here like he’s the second coming of Muhammad Ali’," Bisping said. "He’s an absolute idiot, but the look on his face, I have never wanted to punch somebody so much in my entire life."
Over the course of his career, Bisping is well known for a lively weigh-in just 24 hours before he steps in the cage. He loves to rattle an opponent after stepping on the scale, and in that brief stare down he can feel whether or not this is somebody ready for the challenge or another pretender that will crumble under the pressure.
Bisping has seen the look one way or the other on all of his opponent’s faces, and he’s quite sure he knows which way Kennedy will fall once he locks eyes with him tomorrow.
"Listen at the weigh-in, if that’s the first time I get to see him, I’m going to take that opportunity to scare this guy. I’m going get in his head and he’s going to s–t himself. After he comes face to face with me at this weigh-in, he’s going to f–king know that he’s made a mistake, he’s in over his head, and he’s going to get an ass kicking and it’s as simple as that," Bisping said.
"And I don’t give a s–t about people writing about me or people watching and going ‘he acted wrong there’. No, when I finally get face to face with this a–hole, I’m letting him know that f–king 24 hours from now, I’m kicking the living s–t out of you and he’s going to be scared. Deep down inside himself he f–king knows ‘oh my god f–k I messed up here, cause I’m going to get my ass kicked."
If the weigh-ins are the appetizer, the main course is Wednesday night when Bruce Buffer shouts to the heavens and finally echoes Bisping’s name to the thousands in attendance and the millions watching around the world. Finally getting the opportunity to shut Kennedy up with his fists is all Bisping wants, and with each punch landed, he’ll find a little more satisfaction for the build up to this fight.
When it’s over, Bisping wants to celebrate his victory and then forget about the name Tim Kennedy.
"I’m going to fight with a lot more venom, a lot more intensity. Maybe some guys that throws them off, but for me, it’s the worst thing you can do pissing me off. I’m an emotional guy and I fight way better when I’m like that," Bisping said.
"This will be a stoppage for sure, you ain’t going to see a decision. I haven’t come up here to Quebec for a mixed martial arts contest. I’ve come up here to beat Tim Kennedy up in the most violent way as I can possibly do. I want to hurt him, I want to leave him on the floor in a pile of piss and blood and he begs the referee to rip me off him and then I never want to hear Tim Kennedy’s name mentioned in the same sentence as me ever again."