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Bisping: Anderson Silva 'was beating a bunch of bums,' can't compete with top 5 today

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Michael Bisping feels that Anderson Silva was facing lighter competition during his heyday and couldn't compete with division's best today.

On Wednesday, Michael Bisping spent an afternoon with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani and gave an in-depth, hour-long interview, in which he found some harsh words for Anderson Silva again.

"Anderson Silva tested positive for steroids. He can deny it all he wants, he can shut the media up, he can say, 'I'm not talking about that' all he wants, but everybody knows: He tested positive for three banned substances, one of them a performance-enhancing drug," Bisping said. "Any fancy excuses he likes, he tested positive. It's in the record books, and he served his suspension. And this is Anderson Silva, a guy that's the perfect example of a martial artist. [...] A guy that works hard, doesn't take shortcuts, and is capable of anything. That's inspirational! Then it comes out that the guy was cheating the whole time, the guy was a fraud, the guy was a coward. He was taking steroids, was cheating the system, cheating the fans.

"For me, that's very disappointing, massively disappointing, disappointing for everybody. And he can try and push it under the carpet all he wants, but that ain't ever gonna go away. And he takes offense in the fact that I dare to mention it. That I dare to mention that in your last fight you took steroids? That is extremely relevant my friend! Don't think for one second that I'm gonna let you forget that. You should be ashamed of yourself."

After years of being considered the greatest MMA fighter of all time and an example for clean fighters in this sport, Silva tested positive for banned substances before and after his fight against Nick Diaz at UFC 193 in January 2015. Bisping, a long-time crusader against performance-enhancing drugs, believes this wasn't the first time that the Brazilian superstar was using something.

"I don't think that, having the career that he's had, having the knockouts, being the longest-reigning champion, being the most successful UFC fighter there ever has been, that somebody would come to him when he's 40 years old and offers him steroids for the first time, after being the incredible Anderson Silva, that he would say, 'Yeah, okay I'll try it'," Bisping said. "No way! You would not risk your legacy, you would say, 'I've been this successful without it, I don't need that'. But that's not what happened, he was definitely taking steroids in this fight. And I find it hard to believe that it was the first time he took it."

Bisping already brought the steroid topic up again during an encounter with Silva at an open-workout session two weeks ago. He revealed during this interview that shortly after the brief confrontation, Silva's manager called his boxing coach and told him that Bisping should "take a step back" when it comes to that topic.

"He's under pressure, because he's the great Anderson Silva," Bisping said. "He's coming back, he's just tested positive for steroids. How better to eradicate that than to beat me and then get his title back, which is what he claims he's going to do. He's not gonna do that. The division now is way better than what it was. He was beating a bunch of bums back in the day. He couldn't compete with the top five in the middleweight division right now."

Bisping and Silva will headline UFC Fight Night London this Saturday at London's O2 Arena.