British middleweight Michael Bisping is one of the most polarising figures on the UFC roster. Fans either love him or hate him, with very few expressing ambivalence.
Those who dislike him offer several reasons, usually a combination of his reaction to winning a controversial decision over Matt Hamill at UFC 85 and his run on The Ultimate Fighter 9, where he was perceived as arrogant and cocky.
Bisping doesn’t mind people disliking him based on those sort of reasons, but he does object to being categorised as someone who lacks power, or who back-pedals from heavy firefights. Browse any MMA forum and you will see a lot of posts claiming Bisping has no power in his hands.
“If you go on the internet and believe everything that’s said there, I’m not too popular. But in my experience in day to day life, people are very, very kind to me. I live out here in California now, and people always have nice things to say. Obviously when they’ve got a keyboard to hide behind, they say something differently,” he told UFC.com
“When it comes to some of the hardcore fans and the guys who do talk about me, I think they see some of my antics and they do look past my skills. If you go on the Underground (forum) and look at the things they say, you’d think I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag, but I lost a split decision to Rashad Evans, I got robbed of a decision against Wanderlei (Silva), and I got knocked out against Dan Henderson.
“Against Dan Henderson, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned a lot from that fight and I realized a lot of the mistakes I was making. The other two fights were razor-thin. Other than that, I’ve stopped most of my guys, I have something like a 70% stoppage rate, contrary to the idea that everybody has that I can’t punch as well.”
Tomorrow, Bisping faces Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller in the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 14. The two were rival captains and they built up some bad blood, but that is not the only driving force for Bisping. After 14 fights in the UFC, he wants a title shot.
He won’t get one for beating Miller, but he has to win to keep that dream alive. If he does get the victory, he will most likely be matched with Chael Sonnen in a contender’s elimination bout - Sonnen has been angling for a rematch with Anderson Silva but it seems he will have to win a fight first. The winner of Bisping/Sonnen would have a strong argument for a title shot.