Although he said he’s all business ahead of their Nov. 7 encounter in Sydney, Bisping unloaded a curse-word-laced barrage of verbal jabs at Rockhold during a Tuesday conference call with members of the media.
The two have previously traded barbs, but have seldom had an opportunity to discuss an apparent sparring session where Bisping said he knocked out Rockhold. The bold claim eventually made it to Rockhold’s ears and it didn’t sit well with him, prompting the American Kickboxing Academy standout to call Bisping out and lobby for a fight to be signed.
Eventually, Rockhold got his wish, and the lead-up to the bout has Bisping going full Bisping.
“Luke, I don’t know you, I don’t care for you,” Bisping said. “We haven’t shared a single proper conversation, so you’re basing your facts, or what you presume as facts, on absolutely nothing, on fresh air. We’ve had one conversation of the sparring match in question that everybody talks about. You don’t know me, you don’t know me as a person, so kiss my (expletive) ass, you lanky piece of (expletive). I’ll see you in Australia, you (expletive). I’m going to put it all to bed then.”
Despite Bisping’s outright dislike for his opponent, Rockhold appeared to have a handle on his emotion. In response to Bisping’s tirade, the former Strikeforce middleweight champ pointed to the way he’s carried himself in their promotion of the bout as evidence that he’s not going to let anger get in the way of things.
Rockhold vowed never to let emotions get in the way of a fight again, referring to the lead-up ahead of his loss to Vitor Belfort as an example of what he’ll avoid going forward.
“As you can see, with the way that I’ve carried myself in our conversations and face to face, I’m not really too emotional,” Rockhold explained. “If you want to see emotional, go back and see my Belfort lead-up to the fight. I was pissed, I was emotional, you can see it in my eyes. I’m very comfortable and relaxed, and that’s never going to happen again. I’m never going to let emotions get the better of me. I’ve done my work. I’ve worked my ass off for this whole training camp, worked with some of the best guys in the world, and I’m prepared. I’m better than I’ve ever been. I’m going to go out there and just do my job.”
With his opponent explaining how calm he can be under the pressure of a fight’s build-up, Bisping said he’s of the same frame of mind, explaining that he doesn’t allow Rockhold’s comments to phase him. He said Rockhold is simply jumping on the Bisping hate train.
“I’m not upset about any of his remarks,” Bisping said. “Anything that Luke Rockhold said doesn’t really register with me, to be honest. The guy, he’s trying to jump on a bandwagon, ‘Oh, I’m trying to do this for the sake of everybody. He’s such an (expletive), no one likes him.’ No one has any right to (give) their opinion on anything because when I’m outside of the Octagon, I’m at home with my wife and kid, so I don’t know what he’s basing this whole bad-guy image on.”
For “The Count,” what looks like emotional outbursts is apparently business as usual.
“I’m going down there to take care of business,” Bisping added. “Luke Rockhold is not somebody that I (get) upset about. He’s not somebody that I care about. He’s not somebody that I wake up in the morning and think about. I’m here to do my job — to put on an entertaining fight and I’ve done that throughout my entire career. And this will be another occasion where I will do that. I’m going down to Sydney to take care of business. Yes, of course I get to shut this guy up in the process — that is obviously a bonus. But I’m all business.”
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