The day of reckoning is finally here. The TUF Nations finale has 13 bouts, some of which we care about watching more than others. The main event has had a pretty boisterous buildup thanks to the rivalry between combatants, Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy. Both are Top 10 contenders, with Kennedy ranked at 8 and Bisping ranked at 5.
Yesterday, we got Kennedy's take on the fight and now, on the morning of what's sure to be a fun card, we'll hear from the Count, Michael Bisping, who discussed Kennedy at length, giving plenty of insight to the mounting hostility between the two. Here's what he had to say:
I think the way he's approached this whole thing is a little bit foolish, to be honest. He's jumped onto this thing that I'm a dirty fighter. He's said I always knee to the groin, I always hold the cage, I always eye gouge, I always hold the shorts or I always put my arm over the top of the cage. I don't think I've ever put my arm over the top of the cage. In my history of being a UFC fighter, I've only ever had one point deducted. It's absolute nonsense to suggest that I'm a dirty fighter.
He has to give me credit for my skillset because the fact of the matter is, I've been in the UFC, fighting the best guys for almost 10 years. If I didn't have a good skillset, that just wouldn't be a fact. He has to give me credit in that respect.
Regarding him, I never underestimate my opponents. I've trained very diligently and done everything I can to ensure my victory. I've got people to emulate his style...listen, he's gonna bring some things to the table. It's a fight, and I'm expecting a tough time. That's how fights are. Do I think I'll win? Of course.
He's made it personal and done a lot of things. He's made up a lot of things, lied and made up bullshit. I'm really looking forward to making an example of him. Believe me, when I say I'm going to do that, I really am. The guys is out of his league, and I plan on proving that come fight time.
Representing the Sport
I think there's a certain amount of honor and dignity and respect in martial arts and MMA. When you step into the Octagon, it's the ultimate stage for a martial artist in this day and age. Fighters should behave accordingly, because we're not court jesters. We're not kids working on a school project. We're professional athletes, and this guy is kind of cheapening the whole thing.
He's making these stupid videos. This isn't Comedy Central. We're not here to be judged on the best skit. It's about going out there and fighting to your best ability. I don't think he's representing the sport as he should. He's certainly representing himself well, but not the sport.
I made the comment about him not representing the armed forces very well because he's acting like an idiot. I'm sure when he was in the service, he was a very good representative, but he's not a soldier any more. He needs to stop going on about it. Good for you, you did a great job. I commend the service you provided for your country, I really do, but you decided to leave the military to fight in the UFC. Your service days are over. Please stop talking about it. Focus on the fight at hand and what you have on your plate now.
I don't feel that he has what it takes to be a marquee fighter. He's got his propaganda machine out there rolling with all these videos from Ranger Up. They're in the gym, and they're interviewing Jon Jones and all these other people he trains with. Of course they have nothing but great things to say, ‘Tim Kennedy comes in and teaches our children's class' or ‘Tim Kennedy came in to help with this fighter's training camp', but they're not saying Tim Kennedy will be the next champion. They're just saying that he's a hard worker. That's fine, but where are the comments about him knocking everyone out in sparring or that he's going to be the next big thing in this sport? They're just not saying those things at all.
The world is full of hard workers and team players. Does that make you the stuff of world champions? No, it does not. I just don't see him having the ability. He thinks he's clever with the way he went about getting the fight with me, but it's been a double bluff. He thinks he's merely playing with me with all this psychological warfare, like a little puppet, and that I'm going to be fighting in a way that he thinks is beneficial to a win for him.
No, Tim Kennedy, you fucking idiot, I asked for you because you're an easy match-up and I've been a year out of action. You're a good come-back fight. I'm using you as a stepping stone. There ya go. I said it, but that's the fact of the matter. When I completely outclass you on fight night, the world will see that, and then we won't hear from him for quite some time.
As a professional athlete, you should be a hard worker. I'm a hard worker. That's our professional obligation, working hard in training. It supplements talent and natural ability, but just being a hard worker, and using that as a selling point, well that gains you no credit with me. So what, you're a hard worker. So is everyone else in the UFC.
Let's look at the facts, because I was thinking about this the other day. He's gone out there and told the world that he had a torn quad or whatever the Hell it was. ‘Oh, aren't I a badass, I'm the guy with the torn leg muscle that beat that guy.' Was there any surgery? No, there wasn't. Did he take another bout immediately after that fight? Yes, he did.
It can't have been that bad, because anybody that a really serious injury like he said, would have to go through a surgery or a really intense rehabilitation program before they took another fight. I'm guessing he probably got kicked hard in training or over stretched and maybe partially tore his hamstring a little bit, because there was no doctor, no surgery and no rehab. He was just talking out of his fucking ass again. For a guy that talks about the dignity and honor of being a soldier, he sure is a bit of a lying bastard.
My eye is 100% fine. There are muscles on the side of the eye that keep it central, and they've been affected from all the surgeries, so there's a little turn in my eye. They can repair it, but I don't want to have that done until I'm finished fighting, because if I do that, that will mean another 6 months or more with recovery, etcetera, etcetera. The turn isn't affecting my vision or capabilities in any way, shape or form. It just looks a little strange.
Kennedy Exploiting the Eye
Of course I'm stepping into the Octagon, fully cleared medically, so he can hit me any where he wants, as hard as he possibly can. That's what I signed up for. He says he hits hard [laughs]...apart from his last fight, where he knocked out some random Brazilian that I can't even remember the name of, who has he knocked out? I don't know who they are.
So what if he does hit hard. We all hit hard at some point or other. We're martial artists. He's gonna need more than the ability to throw a good punch. Here's a little fact for you; I've got the highest striking defense in UFC history. I'm the hardest person to hit. I also have the second most significant strikes. When I get in the pocket, Tim Kennedy is going to need more than a decent left hook if he thinks he's going to take care of me.
It's the next step in the evolution of the sport. If you look at other professional sports, they all have a uniform, and I can see the logic in it. It cleans up the look and provides a crisper image for the casual fans. There will be many more changes throughout my lifetime as a fighter and after it. We'll be able to look back on it and say, ‘Wow! I can't believe it was like that. It was like the wild, wild West. Look how far we've come.'
It's another step toward the mainstream. Dana has said that the majority of the money generated from the uniforms will go to the fighters, so I think that's a great thing. It's going to be such a good thing for the entry level fighters who don't make much. Now, they'll be able to get more money, and to be honest, they're the guys that really need it.
Of course we all want to make extra money, but I do well. The UFC has really looked after me, I'm on a good contract and I've got no qualms at all. If the up and coming guys, the fighters of tomorrow, can have a few more dollars in their wallets, then I'm all for that.
Corporate Sponsorship Outside the Octagon
Obviously, that's the next step. Using your image and likeness outside the Octagon and associating with brands that the public are aware of to help generate income by paying us to endorse their products is the way of the future. Commercials and social media...there's many other avenues to make extra revenue for yourself. It's all about getting with a brand that is in line with you, what you stand for and what represents you will. If you find some good business partners like that, then I'm sure you can do some business together outside the Octagon.
There was some extra conversation about Michael's numerous movie projects that are coming out over the next few months, as well as some discussion about his upcoming nuptials. The entire interview can be heard on MMA Sentinel.
You can follow Michael via his Twitter account, @Bisping