Michael Bisping knows that UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will be fitter than him when they face each other at UFC 199 on June 4, but he still believes he is capable of winning the title.
Bisping admitted that beating Rockhold will be no easy feat as he found that out the hard way when Rockhold made him submit in the second round of their last meeting at UFC Fight Night 55 in November 2014.
Rockhold was initially supposed to fight Chris Weidman, but Weidman pulled out of the bout with a neck injury. With Bisping being called up as Weidman’s replacement on short notice, he conceded that Rockhold will be better prepared heading into the fight.
“I know he’s technically very good, but I’ve been in there with him. I’ve felt him. I’ve sparred him for five rounds once, and I whooped his ass there,” Bisping told Sirius XM’s The Luke Thomas Show. “I know what I’m expecting. I know what I’m getting myself into. Is he going to have better cardio than me on that night? Of course he is. At the end of the day, he’s a human being. I’m going to go forward and I’m going to fight with everything I’ve got. No one’s got more heart than me.”
Bisping will head into UFC 199 on a three-fight winning streak, but he made it clear that he will look to defeat Rockhold early on as he admitted that the longer the fight progresses, the likelier the champion is to retain his title.
“Listen, I’m going to take this guy out of there,” he said. “I’m not going out there to fight five rounds. If I try that, I lose. I’m not going to have the conditioning. Believe you me, I’ve stopped guys in the first round plenty of times before, albeit earlier in my career. I’m going to go back to that animalistic fighting style, which I have inside me. I’m going to go out on my sword and I tell you what, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. Luke Rockhold better be ready.”
The 37-year-old added that he is in a race against time to get down into the weight limit of 185 pounds, but with so much on the line, he has vowed to make it happen.
“Yeah, for sure, there is some concerns there. I know I can make weight, but it’s going to be tough,” he said. “Definitely. It’s a short-notice fight. I’ve got two and a half weeks, but I’m not a million miles away. I think I’m around 208 [pounds], 209. So, I can do it. I’m going to diet like a madman. I’ve gotta train. I’ve gotta do some things, but it is doable.
“If I didn’t lose any weight right now, I would have to do a 24-pound weight cut, which I’m not going to do, but you’ve heard people do that before. So, if I lose two pounds this week or three pounds this week, I’ll train all the way up to Saturday. I’ll rest Sunday. If I lose three pounds, then I can lose four pounds next week, that’s seven pounds. I’ll be just over the 200-pound limit. It’s doable, but it’s going to be miserable.”
Bisping acknowledged that he is the underdog heading into the fight, but when asked if he can be crowned the new middleweight champion, the Briton said that his chances of victory are more likely than the religious beliefs held be some people.
“I’ll put it like this. If people can walk around – and I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way to religious people – and you believe the son of God came down to earth 2,000 years ago, and he killed himself for our sins, and he can walk on water, and there’s a God up there looking after ourselves,” he said. “And if you get on your knees and pray to him that things will change, if you can believe that, then you can believe that I can knock the [expletive] out of Luke Rockhold two weeks from Saturday.”