Michael Bisping found out last night that he will be facing Chael Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2 this January 28. He had been preparing to face Demian Maia while Sonnen was to face Mark Munoz, but then Munoz pulled out with a shoulder injury that will require surgery.
Bisping had been preparing to face a Jiu Jitsu specialist but now has eleven days to prepare for a top wrestler instead. But a middleweight title shot is on the line for the winner, making it the fight of his life and one he has to win if he is to achieve his dream of earning a UFC title.
FO: Were you surprised when you got the phone call to face Chael?
“Yes I guess I was. I believe that Mark Munoz has hurt his arm so their fight is off, but if I’m honest I believe that it should have been an eliminator fight between me and Chael Sonnen anyway. I feel that I am further along the line than Mark Munoz.
So when Dana (White) gave me the call, of course, I jumped at it. This is a huge opportunity. I beat Chael Sonnen and I get to fight Anderson Silva in a soccer stadium in Brazil.”
FO: Coming off a one-sided fight with Jason Miller and preparing for Demian Maia, two distinctly ground guys, how does this switch change things in your training?
“It changes things quite drastically. I’ve been preparing heavily to face a southpaw, jiu-jitsu guy and now I have to switch to face an orthodox wrestler. Training for Chael Sonnen I would of brought in a bunch of great wrestlers and not spent weeks working with jiu-jitsu guys.
But the dominoes are lined up now and I just gotta knock them down. I’m a fighter, I’ve always been a fighter, and you’ve got to take the opportunities when they arrive. It might only be a week of specific training left to face this guy, but I’ve trained my whole life for this moment.”
FO: Do you feel like this is the biggest moment of your career?
“Without a shadow of a doubt this is the biggest fight of my career. It’s going to be the most watched fight of all time, with it going live on Fox TV, and I am fighting the number one contender. This is my title fight.
“I beat this guy and I am fighting for the title. I’m going to Brazil and it’s me that will be getting the big pay day. There is no doubt that I will beat this guy too. I am the better fighter. No doubt, he is a tough motherf**ker, but it’s my big opportunity and I will be ready.”
FO: You guys were originally teed up to coach against one another on The Ultimate Fighter; if that had happened, no doubt all the trash talk would of gotten you fired up and when you are fired up it seems to bring out the best in you.
Would you have preferred a longer build up, more time to get some real animosity fired up for motivation?
“If we would of done The Ultimate Fighter together then, of course, that would of made for great TV, but sometimes things happen for a reason. Believe me, I was motivated to fight Demian Miai, I was up for that fight. But now I’ve got the call, and I’m just super pumped. I am more excited than you can imagine.
And my motivation levels seem a lot higher again. I’m excited about this opportunity. I am excited about the ramifications of winning this fight, what it will do for myself, my family and my career. This is just huge and I am sure even though we have less than two weeks to go there is still plenty of time for some trash talk.
I believe he’s already started in fact and he’s going to smash my teeth in. That’s fine. I can’t wait… Chael’s biggest weapon is his mouth – but this ain’t no kissing contest and he isn’t going to talk me to death. Unlucky for him he can’t hurt me with his mouth in the Octagon and I am going to crush him. I’m in my prime and this is my time.”
FO: Chael has been training to face a wrestler so he’s not tailored his camp to suit your style either, will that be an advantage to you?
“No because it simply means that his wrestling skills will be on point, I’m going to get the best Chael Sonnen possible I know that. But his jiu-jitsu wont be too slick. Chael Sonnen can take me down if he likes, because I know I can submit him off my back. I know I can. That’s his big weakness.
“I may not have a black belt, but I consider myself a black belt. I’ve been rolling with Jake Shields, Dean Lister and a wash of other world champions. Believe me, if Chael Sonnen takes me down he better be prepared to get submitted.”
FO: Is that the gameplan then, to submit Chael Sonnen?
“Working with these guys recently, these top level jiu-jitsu guys, has really brought on my game and I am so comfortable on my back right now. In the past I have stood fights up a lot but the way I am training right now, I will be delighted if Chael takes me down. If he does, then it will be a short night for him.”