When Michael Bisping steps into the cage June 4 at UFC 199 to fight middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, he’ll be doing so with only a couple weeks’ training for the bout. Bisping replaced former champ Chris Weidman when "The All-American" pulled out of his title rematch with Rockhold with a badly injured neck.
Because of the short notice, the superbly conditioned Bisping says he’ll be in the unusual position this time around of not having the biggest gas tank. With that said, he is happy to already know what to expect from Rockhold after having fought him in 2014.
"I know he’s technically very good, but I’ve been in there with him. I’ve felt him. I’ve sparred him for five rounds once, and I whooped his ass there," he told Sirius XM’s The Luke Thomas Show.
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"I know what I’m expecting. I know what I’m getting myself into. Is he going to have better cardio than me on that night? Of course he is. At the end of the day, he’s a human being. I’m going to go forward and I’m going to fight with everything I’ve got. No one’s got more heart than me."
Bisping has won his last three fights by decision but says he’s coming to take Rockhold out early. "Listen, I’m going to take this guy out of there," he promised.
"I’m not going out there to fight five rounds. If I try that, I lose. I’m not going to have the conditioning. Believe you me, I’ve stopped guys in the first round plenty of times before, albeit earlier in my career. I’m going to go back to that animalistic fighting style, which I have inside me. I’m going to go out on my sword and I tell you what, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. Luke Rockhold better be ready."
In addition to the short notice resulting in the lack of proper training time for Bisping, he has very little time to get down to the middleweight title weight limit of 185 pounds. "The Count" admits that making weight will be brutal, but knows he can do it.
"Yeah, for sure, there is some concerns there. I know I can make weight, but it’s going to be tough," he allowed.
"Definitely. It’s a short-notice fight. I’ve got two and a half weeks, but I’m not a million miles away. I think I’m around 208 [pounds], 209. So, I can do it. I’m going to diet like a madman. I’ve gotta train. I’ve gotta do some things, but it is doable.
"If I didn’t lose any weight right now, I would have to do a 24-pound weight cut, which I’m not going to do, but you’ve heard people do that before. So, if I lose two pounds this week or three pounds this week, I’ll train all the way up to Saturday. I’ll rest Sunday. If I lose three pounds, then I can lose four pounds next week, that’s seven pounds. I’ll be just over the 200-pound limit. It’s doable, but it’s going to be miserable."
Bisping allows that Rockhold is a solid fighter, and that he’ll be better conditioned, but at least he knows what he’s up against after fighting him in 2014.
With all circumstances considered, Bisping will be a big underdog against Rockhold at UFC 199. The Brit knows this.
But he also knows that anything is possible, as he tried to illustrate with an interesting analogy. In the end, Bisping believes his beating Rockhold is more believable than religious beliefs held by many people.
"I’ll put it like this. If people can walk around – and I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way to religious people – and you believe the son of God came down to earth 2,000 years ago, and he killed himself for our sins, and he can walk on water, and there’s a God up there looking after ourselves," he began.
"And if you get on your knees and pray to him that things will change, if you can believe that, then you can believe that I can knock the [expletive] out of Luke Rockhold two weeks from Saturday."