By: John Morgan
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) isn't looking past his UFC 152 opponent, Brian Stann (12-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC).
But with what appears to be a bit of a four-man tournament lining up in the UFC's middleweight division ? and with UFC President Dana White on Thursday declaring Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) the division's No. 1 contender ? the question seems unavoidable.
For the record, no, Bisping does not believe Weidman deserves that type of recognition. And while he's not so sure Weidman will make it past Tim Boetsch in their December fight, Bisping likes his chances against the grappling stud.
"Weidman has got an undefeated streak going, and Dana is the president of the company, so far be it from me to disagree and tell him he's not the No. 1 contender," Bisping told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It's his company, but I don't think so. Weidman has a good streak going, and he's got a lot of hype around him at the moment, but I never rated Mark Munoz in the first place."
Weidman earned a brutal second-round stoppage of Munoz in the headlining fight of July's UFC on FUEL TV 4 event. It was the second high-profile win in a row for Weidman, who also came in on short notice to decision Demian Maia at January's UFC on FOX 2 card.
However, Bisping remains unimpressed by the 28-year-old New Yorker and says defeating Munoz in his first fight back from an eight-month layoff and edging out a lackluster Maia, despite dropping 32 pounds in the 10 days before the fight, isn't deserving of top-contender recognition.
"He knocked out a fat Mark Munoz, who was out of shape and coming back off a long layoff because of injury," Bipsing said. "Not that impressive if you ask me. In fact, before that it was Demian Maia ? and again, it wasn't impressive. Demian Maia looked terrible in that fight, but so did Chris Weidman. 'Oh, he cut this amount of weight.' Well that's his [expletive] problem. That's not an excuse, is it? You looked [expletive], plain and simple.
"He elbowed a fat Mark Munoz and now he's the great white hype? Just because he elbowed an out-of-shape fat man? Yeah, he's got a streak, and that all counts ? undefeated, et cetera ? so I suppose you can see the logic, but I disagree."
Weidman is scheduled to face Boetsch in December, and the winner of that fight could very well be in line to face the Bisping vs. Stann victor for a shot at the title. Much of that will also depend on Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar and Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit and whether "The Spider" and "GSP" elect to take a catchweight superfight.
Bisping admits he's hoping Condit plays the role of spoiler and nixes the superfight, but the immediate future of the 185-pound division isn't necessarily crystal clear.
"We're going to have to see how this whole thing plays out ? who wins in Condit vs. St-Pierre, what those guys want to do after that," White said. "And really, the No. 1 contender right now is Weidman. So maybe Weidman and Bisping fight. I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen yet, but Bisping is right there."
Weidman would seem stylistically to be a difficult opponent for Bisping, who is known as a striker by trade. But "The Count" believes his wrestling improvements are far more impressive than what Weidman has thus far learned on the feet.
"You could look at the skills and say I could box his [expletive] head off, as well," Bisping said. "I've certainly got better wrestling than he's got boxing.
"Just because he landed one elbow on an amateur? I've trained with professional boxers, and trust me, I more than hold my own. I could have a career in professional boxing, no problem, professional kickboxing ? [expletive] it, if I wanted to be a professional wrestler, I could be a wrestler, as well."
Of course, before any of this talk matters, Bisping must get by Stann at UFC 152. Then he can turn his attention to UFC 155 where Weidman meets Boetsch. Bisping would likely await the winner, and he's not so sure that will necessarily be Weidman.
"He may just come up short against Boetsch," Bisping said. "I think Boetsch might be a tough matchup for him. Boetsch is a big, strong boy. He's not the most technical of guys, but he's a big, tough, durable guy. He's not to be written off.
"When I was to fight at him, I was looking at that as a dangerous fight. It certainly wasn't a given. He's durable. That's not a given fight for Weidman."
And if it plays out that way, Bisping is more than happy to line up a fight with Boetsch.
"I said it's not a given fight for Weidman," Bisping said. "I didn't say it wasn't a given fight for me."