Call him the bad guy of the UFC, or the worst person in the world; it doesn’t matter to Michael Bisping. With Mark Munoz being injured Dana White made the switch for Bisping to take on Chael Sonnen next Saturday here in Chicago.
"The Count" took the time to talk with me regarding the upcoming fight and what he really takes away from the boos and cheers he receives. He also believes this fight is a big test for him and what path his career is heading toward.
What was your immediate reaction when you heard that you were no longer fighting Damian Maia but Chael Sonnen?
I was very excited. I worked very hard my entire life to be UFC Champion and Dana White said if I beat Chael Sonnen I get a shot at Anderson Silva. This is my destiny and I worked really hard and I know I’m capable of beating him. Chael is a very tough opponent, and he’s only human. I match up very well with him and I know I can beat the guy. I am looking forward to getting to Chicago, which is a beautiful city and it’s going to be a great week for me.
Does your mindset now change with the title shot implication on the line with before you would get a chance for the title but not right away?
It does up the stakes a little bit and it’s about the same if I was fighting Demian Maia. I mean if I lost against Maia I would see a title shot pass me up for a year and then I would have to put a streak of wins together again. It would put me back at square one for me and I don’t want to do that. In that same respect I want to win every fight and if I beat Sonnen I get a chance at Anderson Silva, in a soccer stadium, in Brazil, this summer.
The objective is the same and that is to train as hard as I can. At the night of the fight I will put everything on the line regardless of who am I facing. Whoever it is, whatever it is I want to win.
Chael Sonnen recently called you Pip from “South Park” on Twitter. How do you respond to those insults not only from him but other fighters, when it comes to trash talk?
To be honest Chael Sonnen is a failed partisan and a failed politician. He also failed as being a champion because he had many times in the past to achieve that and didn’t succeed. Honestly, I would have expected something a bit better from him than just calling me Pip. He could have done a hell of a lot better and frankly I’m disappointed. He failed a politician and his first insult was also a failure.
Do you think the build-up of this fight is kind of lacking with the fight change being so close to the event?
I don’t think the words will be going back and forth like other fights because of the short amount of time we have. We were supposed to do the Ultimate Fighter together and that would have probably caused a nice stir of on-screen drama, but we still have a week. I’m sure we will talk some sh*t, but I’m looking forward to the Press Conference to see what he brings to the table.
The thing is he thinks he’s going to win and I know that I’m going to win, which makes this fight that much more enjoyable. Sonnen is a world class fighter and with a title shot on the line, what else would you want to see? This is a fight that you don’t want to miss and forget all the trash talk, just watch the fight next Saturday.
Now in terms of past experiences with the fans and other fighters, you come off as a heel and the bad guy of the sport. Do you embrace that hate or love when people see you as being the negative one?
It’s neither, I am who I am. I don’t embrace it, but I don’t hide from it either. If that’s what people want to see that’s fine. If people want to like me that’s great if not I don’t care, I train as hard as I can and that’s all that matters. If people think I’m an ass**ole, who gives a sh*t? As long as people enjoy the fights that I’m a part of, I don’t really care if they love me or hate me.
With Chael Sonnen being such a good wrestler, do you see anything else in his skill set you would like to exploit next Saturday in order to pick up the victory?
Absolutely, with Chael Sonnen’s previous opponents they gave up mentally. Then Sonnen took them down for 15 minutes. I was falling asleep watching his previous fights and I had to watch them on fast forward just to feel like I’m getting something out of it. His standup is not very good and his jiu-jitsu is very suspect to say the least.
He’s a very good wrestler and he’s good at what he does. But there are definitely holes in his game and I’m going to exploit them.
Next Saturday when you and Chael enter the cage how will this fight end?
It will be a great fight and it will be a back and forth battle. He has been to the Olympics and has fought for the World Title. I’m not expecting a “walk in the park” fight, but I can tell you I’m walking out the winner. This is a big test for me and I’m ready for the challenge and to see where I really stand with the upper echelon of fighters.
There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed and ultimately I’m coming out of this fight with the victory.