Michael Bisping on Cung Le Fight: “I Need to Prove I’m Still an Elite Fighter Who Can Fight for the Title”

August 19, 2014

Michael BispingEight years into his UFC tenure, The Ultimate Fighter 3 light heavyweight winner Michael Bisping is at a crossroads in his career. Each time he’s been on the cusp of a title shot, the 35-year-old Brit has fallen short.

“The Count” faces former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder Cung Le in the UFC Fight Night 48 main event in Macao on Aug. 23, and is expecting the fight to be the start of a run back to the top.

He’s had two chances to earn an opportunity at UFC gold. After winning TUF 3, Bisping strung together a four-fight winning streak before losing to The Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Rashad Evans at UFC 78. Following the loss, Bisping dropped weight classes to the middleweight division and immediately became a contender in the 185-pound weight class.

He entered UFC 100 on a three-fight winning streak and with the promise that if he won he’d face then-champion Anderson Silva next. Instead, Dan Henderson logged one of the greatest highlight reel knockouts in his 17-year career.

“This is a must-win fight for me. I have to prove to the UFC, I have to prove to the fans, and I have to prove to myself that I’m still an elite fighter who can go on, get some wins over contenders, and fight for the UFC title,” said Bisping leading up to the fight that will determine if he’s still relevant in title talks.

Bisping is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Tim Kennedy in April and has no intentions of dropping two fights in a row for the first time in his fighting career.

“I’ve never lost two in a row in my life, and I don’t plan to,” said Bisping. “I’ve been fighting high-level competition for the last six, seven years. But I don’t want to be one of the guys in the top 10, who wins a few and loses a few, I want to be No.1 and I want to fight for the UFC title.”

Having failed twice before when a title fight was within his grasp, the window for the Englishman to fulfill his dream of becoming a UFC champion is quickly closing.

“My back is against the wall in terms of making that happen,” said the British middleweight veteran. “I need to win to prove that I’m not just some fighter with a name who is fighting here and there for paydays. My record over my last six fights is win one, lose one, win one, lose one, and that’s just not good enough for what I want to do in my career.”

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  • TheCerealKiller

    LOL! You can’t fight for a title unless you beat a top guy. You still have yet to do this.

    • blob

      You too

      • TheCerealKiller

        Good thing I’m not a fighter.

        • jrcr_15

          Just a keyboard warrior

          • TheCerealKiller

            I’ll kick your ass if you want? Put in MMAWeekly for the fans!

          • jrcr_15

            Will that be a 5 rounder, or 3?

            I’ve had the best training camp ever, and am finally injury free. I am just getting better!

            :D

          • TheCerealKiller

            Lol! ┌∩┐(◕_◕)

  • vladimir nabokov

    Bisping is an old fashioned kind of guy. He’s very allegorical.

  • julian moran

    .. but never win it.

  • travyb

    Last I checked, Bisbing never WAS an elite fighter. He is a legend in his own mind…

    • El Gvapo

      Depends what your definition of elite is. Twenty fights across nearly a decade in UFC suggests he is an elite fighter. Not the best for sure, but then you could say the same about every other fighter in the MW division over the past decade except for Anderson and Weidman.

      • Mike

        There are plenty of guys with long UFC tenures who are/were never considered elite. Bisping’s problem is he’s a fighter with journeyman talent but contender charisma. He’s possibly the best fight hype guy out there and whether you want him to win or lose he always makes the lead up interesting and gets fans to watch. For about 6 years the UFC was looking for any excuse to give the guy a title shot and the fact that he couldn’t get there even with all the hand holding should tell you all you need to know. Definitely not elite – not now, not ever.

        • El Gvapo

          Again, it depends on what you consider to be elite. In my eyes, top 20 in the world out of the 1000s of pro fighters makes you elite, even making it to the UFC could be considered elite. However, if you consider top 3 maybe top 5 to be elite then no he’s not. It’s all about perspective really. That said, I thought he was unfortunate not to get the decision over Chael which would have lead to a title shot.

          • TheCerealKiller

            As much as I hate to say it….

            Bisping IS an elite fighter. He would beat everyone that Bellator has to offer. He would beat everyone WSoF has to offer. Now, that being said, he is a gate keeper for the UFC.

      • travyb

        I agree with you… My perspective is ANY fighter who makes it to UFC is Elite, compared to your every day Joe.. But I am comparing him to only other UFC fighters, Elite he is not. He doesnt have a chin, and does not possess knock out power. Dont get me started with his ground game (which finally improved). IMO if he was based in the US he would have been cut many years ago. DW leans on him to get the UK fans involved..

  • Caminelli

    Anyone else upset at The UFC Fight pass? I get the idea of UFC going global, but now I have to pay $9 a month and wake up at 8am in order to watch!? Broadcast it on Fox sports 1/2. C’mon man!