UFC middleweight Michael Bisping isn’t one to hold his tongue, and spat some motivational words toward Vitor Belfort who he’ll be fighting in just a few short days at the UFC on FX 7 event in Brazil. Bisping spoke with ESPN UK regarding Belfort:
“The good thing is Vitor Belfort is the perfect warm-up for Anderson Silva. He’s a southpaw, Anderson’s a southpaw, and they’re both incredible strikers. My skills against a southpaw have definitely improved a lot in this training camp. At the start of the camp I was struggling because things do change due to the stance. But now I’m over those problems. Fingers crossed I get the business done, and then I’ve had the perfect tune-up for Anderson Silva.”
That’s typical Bisping trying to get under the skin of an opponent that is capable of fighting on emotion like Belfort does at times. It’s true the additional training for southpaw will be beneficial should he get passed Belfort, but Anderson Silva is just a completely different animal. The Bisping/Belfort fight will certainly be high stakes in the backyard of Belfort, yet Bisping seems to feed off that energy and use it as motivation to prove he’s the superior fighter. Bisping will need to survive the early moments in the bout, and the longer the fights go the better his chance of winning. Also, let’s keep in mind that Belfort hasn’t had to make the 185 pound weigh limit since fighting Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 which took place in August 2011. Belfort’s last fight took place at light heavyweight and the fight before that was a catch weight bout at 197 pounds because his opponent Anthony Johnson failed to make weight(EDIT-Belfort did weigh in at 186 pounds for Johnson fight). That could be a huge factor going forward in this fight.
UFC President Dana White has stated that Bisping will likely earn a UFC middleweight title shot against Anderson Silva should he defeat Vitor Belfort on Saturday. Bisping is the only middleweight with a bit of PPV appeal that’s yet to face the champion, and has been lobbying for a shot at Silva for years. The Belfort/Bisping fight preview will be posted on Friday.
Stay tuned to ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) for more UFC on FX 7 news and coverage.
*EDIT made to make the correction that Belfort did weigh in at 186 pounds for the bout with Johnson even though Johnson missed weight.