On paper, the match-up that headlines The Ultimate Fighter Finale between Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller pits a top ten middleweight who could potentially be in line for a title shot in the next year against a returning UFC fighter coming off of more than a year away from competing.
For all his popularity and fanfare, Miller isn’t considered one of the top ten elite middleweights in the sport right now, and Bisping is well aware of that.
Coming off his last win against Jorge Rivera, Bisping was hoping to get a top ten opponent and make his charge towards the UFC title in 2012, but The Ultimate Fighter came knocking instead.
“Far be it from me to question the UFC, that’s not what I’m about and I don’t do that. They tell me who I’m fighting and I fight and try to win. I want to fight for the title soon. I thought my next opponent after I beat Jorge Rivera, I thought my next opponent I want a big name, I want to be them, and I want to win and get a title shot,” Bisping said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
“Obviously, The Ultimate Fighter came around and that threw a little spatter into the works. One, I ended up having a lot of time off, and two, I’m fighting Jason Miller. Is he the guy by beating him to I get a title shot? No, I don’t think so. He’s a veteran, he’s been around the sport, all the rest of it, but he’s not in the top ten and I don’t think he’s going to be.”
Bisping was originally supposed to coach opposite former title contender Chael Sonnen on the reality show, but Sonnen’s issues with athletic commissions forced him off TUF and Miller stepped in instead.
Either way, Bisping was happy to go back and coach another season of UFC hopefuls, and he had plenty of fun interacting with Miller along the way.
Now just days away from the fight, Bisping is more motivated than ever to dispatch of Miller when they meet in the cage. Not only did he have to deal with him for six weeks during the taping of the show, but Bisping has been paying attention to a lot of Miller’s interviews where he said that he would put the Brit away in the first round and finish the work that Dan Henderson started when they fought at UFC 100.
For all the talk, Bisping believes that Miller is legitimately underestimating him and that’s a mistake he’s very happy to capitalize on.
“He’s underestimating me, just like all opponents, the same run of events, the same things get said in every fight. ‘Oh Bisping he’s not good at this, he’s not good at that’ and they have a different opinion by the time they’re checking out of the hospital after the fight. Six of my last seven opponents, that’s where they went to the hospital, and Jason Miller’s going to be no different,” Bisping said.
“I hope he hasn’t booked an after party for after the fight cause if he does, he’s going to be spending it with a couple of nurses. I saw an interview he did recently where he said he’s going to knock me out and submit me in the first round. I’ve got to say I did laugh quite heartily when I read that. That’s what I said on the show when he said ‘I’m going to knock you out’, I said when have you knocked anyone out? When’s the last time I got submitted? Never. I’m looking forward to kicking his ass, can’t wait.”
On the flipside of that argument, while Bisping doesn’t think Miller should even be in the fight with him, he’s still trained like he’s competing for the belt.
Bisping knows that he’s the favorite going into the fight, so he has to go in there and prove it and the only way to do that is to beat Jason “Mayhem” Miller and leave no doubts when it’s over.
“I’m not underestimating Jason; I never do. He’s got some things I’ve got to be careful of, obviously the ground work, he’s going to want to take me down and submit me. I don’t think he’s going to be able to do that, but I’ve addressed that problem and I’ve trained very, very hard,” Bisping commented.
“But I’ll be honest the way I feel about it, I could have laid on my couch for six months eating pizza and got off my ass and kicked the (expletive) out of him. Unfortunately for him, I’ve just done a 10-week training camp as if I was facing Anderson Silva. This guy’s got nothing on me. I’m looking forward to proving it.”
Bisping will get the chance when he faces Miller in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Finale this Saturday night in Las Vegas.