by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
For the second time in as many months, Michael Bisping has been working and training for a match-up against Chris Leben. The first time around, Leben had to pull out of the bout to serve time for a past legal offense, but now the fight is on and the British fighter has had plenty of time to think about this one.
Before fighting Jason Day in his last UFC bout, Bisping had game planned and prepared for Leben. He is now able to recycle that knowledge for the fight scheduled for UFC 89 this weekend in England.
“This time when the fight was scheduled I kind of already had an idea of how the fight was going to go and what I needed to do,” said the Brit in a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I was already watching his tapes, now I started doing that again. The gameplan’s still the same.”
While the gameplan itself hasn’t been revealed, one big key to Bisping’s success could be his patience to deal with Leben’s incredible chin and ability to withstand a ton of punishment.
“You’ve definitely got to be patient with fights like Chris. I’ve fought guys like Chris before in kickboxing and early in my MMA career, guys that could take a great shot and keep coming,” Bisping commented. “You can’t think you’ve hurt them and then stay in the pocket and get caught with that big shot.
“Take your time and just keep chipping away. If you don’t knock him down with your first first few shots, just keep chipping away and the knockout will come.”
Bisping has also had the chance to look at Leben’s past fights and understands that speed and quickness could be major problems for his American counterpart, who loves to unload big, devastating shots in his fights.
“That’s the way I’ve always liked to fight, even at light heavyweight,” said Bisping about his quickness. “Because, I was an undersized guy at light heavyweight, I liked to rely on speed as opposed to on raw power if you will, and I think that will be the case in this one. Now I’m lighter and I feel even faster.”
The one part of this fight that many fans expected to see prior to this weekend was a verbal war between Bisping and Leben, who have both been known to let their feelings show when an opponent has a few words for them.
Despite never backing down from either a physical or verbal challenge, Bisping and Leben have both remained pretty respectful going into this one, and the Englishman thinks its because they may be cut from the same cloth.
“Leben seems like my kind of guy, seems like the kind of guy I’d like to go out and have a beer with,” Bisping commented. “To be honest he’s said the same thing, he’s been pretty respectful towards me. All it takes is one of us to say one wrong thing, (then) it’s in the gutter.”
Michael Bisping will let his fight skill do the talking for him when he faces Chris Leben on Saturday night at UFC 89 in England.