By Thomas Gerbasi
LONDON, June 5 – January 19th wasn’t an easy day for Michael Bisping. Two months removed from his first pro loss against Rashad Evans in November of last year, the Liverpool resident was on the sidelines when the UFC returned to England for the UFC 80 card in Newcastle.
“I was a jealous bastard,” laughed Bisping at the final UFC 85 press conference today at the Crowne Plaza Docklands. “One of my teammates, Paul Kelly, fought on the card, and yeah, I was jealous. I was glad that I was in the front row for the show, but I would rather have been in the Octagon.”
It was the first England show Bisping missed since the organization began its full assault on the UK in 2007, and after wins at UFC 70 over Elvis Sinosic and UFC 75 over Matt Hamill, ‘The Count’ took his show on the road, losing a decision to Evans in New Jersey, and then making a successful middleweight debut in April with a first round TKO of Charles McCarthy.
But there’s no place like home.
“My last couple of fights had been in North America, but this is my home, and I felt I alienated myself a little bit from the UK fans, so I’m very excited to be back fighting here,” said Bisping, who takes on Canada’s Jason Day on Saturday’s card at the O2 Arena. It’s a fight that should deliver excitement for fans, and Bisping is understandably pumped up for his return to UK shores – not only because he’s got a fight on his hands, but because the lead-up bout with Day hasn’t been marked with the trash talk he has dealt with (and engaged in) from his last two foes.
“My last couple of opponents slagged me off as a mixed martial artist and I don’t know why,” said Bisping, who has shown plenty of respect for the Canadian finisher, whose 17 wins include 16 victories by KO or submission. The feeling is mutual from Day, and both are saving their energy for the Octagon – good news for fight fans.
DAVIS, SWICK EYE ‘FIGHT OF THE NIGHT’
On paper, explosive strikers Marcus Davis and Mike Swick combine to make a strong case for Fight of The Night honors. Well, the two combatants agree with most pundits’ predictions for their welterweight showdown.
“I think we’re gonna bring 100 percent that night,” said Davis, winner of 11 in a row (six in the Octagon). “We’re gonna test each other’s chin, and who knows, we might even hit the ground. I’m waiting for anything to happen. The guy who brings his A game and who has the best chin and who wants it the most is gonna win this fight.”
Swick doesn’t doubt ‘The Irish Hand Grenade’s pre-fight call.
“I agree with everything he said,” said Swick, the former middleweight contender who won his welterweight debut earlier this year over Josh Burkman. “It’s gonna be a battle of wills and chins perhaps, and we’re gonna test each other. I didn’t get the most exciting opponents in my last couple of fights, but I know Marcus is gonna bring it, and I’m very excited.”
Happy Homecoming for Bisping
Thomas Gerbasi, UFC – January 19th wasn’t an easy day for Michael Bisping. Two months removed from his first pro loss against Rashad Evans in November of last year, the Liverpool resident was on the sidelines when the UFC returned to England for the UFC 80 card in Newcastle.