The UFC middleweight division was once considered the weakest division the organization had, with just a handful of top tier talent, but over the last couple years, it's ranks have been bolstered and it has found itself on stable, solid ground. In that upper echelon of athletes, Michael Bisping has a comfortable seat that he's occupied for quite some time, and hopes to continue his ascent in an effort to get a shot at the belt.
Unfortunately, a detached retina has sidelined him until next year, but his rest and rehab phase has been going well. He's been cleared to do some weightlifting, running and non combat based training, and is very optimistic about his future. That optimism has been clearly demonstrated via his social media feed yesterday when he tweeted out that he'd like to welcome Nick Diaz to the middleweight division, after learning that Diaz would "end his retirement for the right opportunity."
I spoke with Michael a few moments ago to get his thoughts on a bout with Diaz, his rehab schedule, and his view on the pitfalls fighters face when making funny Twitter posts. Here's what he had to say:
It's all going well. It's still going to be a little time before I'm sparring or anything like that, and that's just because I want to take it really easy. Last week the doctors cleared me to get back in the gym, so I can keep myself in shape. I'm not sparring or anything like that. I can run and go to the gym, but I haven't been cleared for any MMA training. I can run and lift weights and things like that.
I won't be able to get back to active MMA training until after Christmas. I'm working on trying to pack on some extra muscle right now. I'm just following the doctor's orders because I don't want to be in the same position again. I'm just taking it nice and easy, but hopefully at the beginning of the new year, I can book a fight.
I have a patch because I take these drops, various types of drops, and one of the drops keeps my pupils dilated, so it lets in far too much light. I have to wear a patch, otherwise I'm squinting the whole time. If I'm driving, I put the patch on, because if it's a sunny day outside, too much sun gets into my eye.
I didn't really mean any disrespect to him, but I heard a rumor off a couple people that he said that he was interested in fighting me, and I know he was talking about maybe coming up to middleweight. He was also talking about retirement; the guy is pretty crazy so you never know what's true and what's not.
A reporter from Fighter's Only told me he had been talking to one of the members from Nick's camp, and he had said that a fight with Michael Bisping might interest him (Diaz), so I just tweeted that if he wanted to come up to 185, I'd quite happily welcome him to the division.
I'll be honest, Nick Diaz isn't exactly on my radar, but if he wants to come up to 185 and he wants to try his luck up there, I will quite happily fight him. I think it would be a fan pleasing fight that a lot of people would be interested in, but I'm not really interested in trying to lose even more weight just to fight him. I'm focused on the middleweight belt, even more so now, after my recent eye injury. If he's coming up to middleweight, great; if not, then I'm not interested.
As UFC fighters, we are representing the organization. We represent ourselves, the UFC, our families and things like that. We do live in a society that is maybe a little too sensitive, but at the end of the day, as professional athletes, we are role models, and we have to try to act accordingly.
I didn't see what went down yesterday with Conor (McGregor), but you've just got to be careful on Twitter, because obviously, if you say things in person, people can see that you're joking, but in a short bit of text, it can be taken out of context quite easily.
You can follow Michael via his Twitter account, @Bisping