‘Closed mouths don't get fed.' That's a direct quote from Tyron Woodley a few weeks ago regarding the need to be vocal about getting a top level opponent. In today's UFC landscape, being quiet and unassuming can see chances pass right by. In the Middleweight division, the most popular choice for a call-out is Michael Bisping. The Number 4 ranked Brit has been requested numerous times over the last several years, and 2014 appears to be off to the same trend.
The latest suitors that would take an audience with The Count in the Octagon are Tim Kennedy and Cung Le. Kennedy is coming off a big knockout win over Rafael Natal and Le is fresh off back to back wins over Patrick Cote and Rich Franklin. While the two have the same end goal in mind, they've taken separate routes in hopes of achieving it. Kennedy created his own bout agreement for the proposed duel, and Le chose to address the situation via a Q&A session in Singapore. He told MMA Junkie,
I would love to fight Michael Bisping. One, he loves to fight. He comes to fight, and I come to fight, and I think that would just be a great fight for the fans. I'm open, but that will be top on the list.
Bisping, never one to shy away from a scrap, addressed Kennedy via Twitter,
In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Michael discussed his two challengers, which one he's most likely to choose for his next fight, his recovery from a twice detached retina, the curious behavior of Anderson Silva during his walkout to the Octagon and thoughts on Vitor Belfort fighting for the Middleweight title in Las Vegas. Here's what he had to say:
They're polar opposites for sure. Cung Le is a class act. He's a hell of a fighter, he's been around for a long time, he was the Strikeforce champion, and now he's having success in the UFC. He was very respectful in his call-out. There was talk of us fighting last year, but he got called to do The Ultimate Fighter, and fair play to him for that big opportunity. That's the name of the game. You call out a name fighter in order to get ahead in your career, and Cung did it the right way.
Then, on the flip side, you've got this-I don't even know what word to use to describe him-bloody annoyance, Tim Kennedy, that just won't seem to go away. At this point, he's just embarrassing himself. He talks about being a man of pride, and a soldier, and a man of honor...well, maybe he needs to act with a bit of honor and dignity. He's just acting like a punk. He's certainly not acting like a trained, disciplined serviceman.
This little bout agreement that he's done up; he insinuates that I wouldn't take the fight anywhere outside of the UK. Let me just ask a quick question: How many times has he fought outside the US? I think the answer is zero. I think the majority of my UFC appearances have been outside of the UK (13 of 19 appearances). If he's insinuating that I'm scared of him, that's the funniest thing I've ever heard.
I've fought the best athletes in the world, and some on short notice. If Tim Kennedy thinks he's going to be the person I'm scared of-this is the person that dresses up as a f*cking ballerina-he's crazy. He dresses like a woman on a regular basis just to get a bit of attention. It's just embarrassing. And for the record, I have many times spoken to Joe Silva and Dana White and said, ‘Listen, let me shut this guy up once and for all.' It comes down to their decision. He keeps going on like it's me, and that I have the ultimate say so.
That decision basically comes down to Joe Silva, and they're trying to decide if I should waste one of my fight opportunities on a fighter of subpar caliber. They are weighing their options on whether it makes more sense to match me up with a better fighter to make the company more money, or if they should just let me get in there and beat the shit out of him for my own personal satisfaction. I'm hoping they go with the latter, and I get to beat the shit out of him on national TV.
Vitor Belfort Fighting In Las Vegas
I don't really know what the commission bases those exemptions on, so I don't know if that previous positive test precludes a TUE forever, or if there's a certain time period that may have passed. I don't have those details, but I'm sure he's definitely going to try to get that exemption. You just can't deny the fact that he's been massively successful since he's been on TRT. If he wants to maintain that success, I'm sure he'll apply for an exemption certificate.
I'm sure he'll do everything by the book. It has to be for the UFC. Will he get one? I don't know. I'm not Keith Kizer. I will be watching very closely, to see how this whole thing unfolds. Will it affect him? Definitely. He hasn't fought outside of Brazil for a while now.
The thing is, coming off TRT for one fight isn't really going to make that much of a difference, because he's still going to have that excess muscle mass. He'll still be able to have that to his benefit, and those elevated levels early on in his training camp. Coming off it for one fight isn't going to kill that, especially if he eats right and trains hard. It's a bit of an unfair advantage.
I still want to fight him again, but I want to fight him clean, and long enough for the testosterone levels to come down to normal or what they should be for a man his age. I would imagine that takes about six months to a year, but again, I'm not a physician, so I don't know the exact details of all that.
If the NSAC says he can't have the exemption, they need to get him tested right now, and test him repeatedly, the same way they did with Barnett and Browne, all the way up to fight night. If they don't do that, and just test him the day of the fight, he'll just use the stuff up until three or four weeks before the fight, and then stop to get his levels down again. For Chris Weidman, who is a clean fighter, to have to come in against a guy with an unfair advantage, that's just not right.
Thoughts On Silva/Weidman Fight
I'm a huge fan of Anderson. He'll go down as having the most magnificent career ever in the UFC. What I noticed when he was coming out for the fight, he stopped in the hallway outside and meditated; kind of closed his eyes and focused himself for a few minutes. I think that was a definite sign of nerves. It was his first fight coming back after a big knockout; it's a big stage and the pressure is huge.
I was ringside right there, maybe three or four feet away from him, and two or three seats to the left of me was Vitor Belfort. It seemed to me that he kind of headed in that direction, to go and shout at Vitor. He spotted him and was headed over, but security got hold of him and steered him into the cage. I was wondering why he was concerned with Vitor when he's got Chris Weidman right in front of him. It just seemed like mentally, he'd succumbed to the pressure a little bit, and I kind of thought this doesn't bode well for him, especially with it being such a high profile fight against the guy that had just knocked him out earlier this year.
Weidman was clearly dominating the fight before he broke his leg. It was a shame, and very sad to see Anderson go out like that. Yeah, the leg break was brutal, and when he was carried past me, screaming in pain, my heart went out to him. He's had such a beautiful career, and that's just not how you want to go out. At the same time, you've got to take your hat off for Chris Weidman and congratulate him.
Clarification On His Eye Injury
What had happened is it (the retina) detached, they reattached it, and then it re-detached. It wasn't anything to do with the surgery, it was because scar tissue had formed-which is very rare-and it caused it to detach again. I'm not sure if I'm saying this properly, but the scar tissue that developed around it sort of pushed it out of place again. They did the surgery again, and this time, everything is fine.
Everything is good now, and the eye is stable. I'm sparring again already, everything is going well, and I should be clear to fight in April. I've spoken to Joe Silva and Dana many times, and I should have something lined up for somewhere around April, and that loud-mouthed little shit, Tim Kennedy just might get his head punched in if I'm lucky.
He's not going to get me a title shot or anything, but I think he might be on the fringe of the Top 10, and he's been on a tirade about me for quite a while now. I'm just sick of it now. I'm sick of trying to do the witty thing on Twitter. I just want to fight the guy now. I've never met him, nor said anything about him, but he's just made a bee line for me. Enough is enough now. I know I can wipe the floor with him, and that's what I'm going to do. He hasn't got a clue what's coming to him. This guy...I'm going out there to embarrass him, plain and simple.
You can follow Michael via his Twitter account, @Bisping