Kennedy took Bisping to the mat almost at will in their five-round headliner at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale. He mounted enough offense to win a unanimous decision, but neither he nor Bisping was happy about the way the fight unfolded.
Bisping, however, didn’t put blame on Kennedy for what transpired; he put it squarely on himself for not being able to stop Kennedy’s takedowns. That is something he intends to rectify by calling on a man that he was formerly scheduled to fight… Mark Munoz.
“It’s one thing sitting there talking the talk; you’ve got to walk the walk,” Bisping told MMAWeekly.com recently. “My last fight didn’t go as planned, so I’m very eager to get back in there and correct that.”
Correcting that means that he needs to log some time with someone that can outwrestle not only him, but most other fighters in the UFC middleweight division. Aside from Kennedy, there aren’t too many fighters that fit the bill.
Munoz, however, is one of the other few that has what Bisping needs at this point in his career. And Bisping isn’t too proud to realize it. As such, he recently went to Munoz for help.
“(Having been scheduled to fight in the past) was the reason I’d never been down (to Munoz’s Reign Training Center) before,” said Bisping. “I knew he had access to a lot of great training partners, he had a great team, and seems like a lot of the talent in Southern California rotates through that gym a lot. But we were fighting, so I couldn’t use that.
“I’ve pretty much lived in California for almost three years now and I haven’t been part of a team. I’ve had great coaches. But you’re only as good as the team that you train with. As I said, I had great coaches, but you gotta have people hands on, sparring partners, wrestling partners, jiu-jitsu guys, killers in the gym trying to take your head off. That’s how you prepare for a fight. That side of things was lacking, and that’s what kind of brought me down to Reign.”
Bisping is generally a fairly brash character, but had no issues in approaching Munoz for help.
“I went down last week. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Mark couldn’t have been more nicer or welcoming,” he said. “Fingers crossed, things keep going well, and I find myself training out of there regularly.”
Bisping and Munoz were scheduled to fight last year, but the bout never came to fruition. Bisping had to withdraw while dealing with a detached retina.
Now, back in the Octagon, the fight with Kennedy under his belt and the eye game-tested, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Bisping and Munoz could once again be asked to fight each other. After all, they are still considered two of the top fighters in the 185-pound class.
So what happens if Bisping makes Reign Training Center his regular stomping grounds, but then the UFC comes knocking?
“As of right now, it’s still very, very early days to say that I’m on the fight team,” said Bisping. “We haven’t got to that point yet. But I tell you right now, if the UFC called up and said we want you to fight Mark Munoz, then I’ll say right, great, listen let’s shake hands, put it to one side. I’ll step aside, I’ll do my own thing, and we’ll have the fight and that will be that.
“If the UFC matches us up, I’ll be stepping aside. But I’m certainly not going to say, no we train with each other now; certainly not, certainly not.”