- UFC 159
Fired-up Bisping: A decision win won't be good enough
Michael Bisping is putting an enormous amount of pressure on himself for Saturday's UFC 159 co-main event against Alan Belcher, insisting he'll be unhappy unless he "finishes him in style".
Bisping looks to get back into the winner's circle against Belcher in New Jersey, and he has hinted that he will sack his entire coaching team if he loses - purely because it would highlight that something is badly wrong.
Moreover, a tight decision win will also not be enough in Bisping's eyes, with the Brit targeting an instant return to title contention after his loss to Vitor Belfort. Currently ranked No. 4 at middleweight, fear of losing is driving Bisping to a huge performance this weekend.
"I don't want to lose two in a row. It's also Alan Belcher, and for pride and many other reasons I don't want to lose," Bisping told ESPN at Madison Square Garden. "But most important is that I have to cement myself back among those top guys.
"I've been there for a long time, but losing two in a row, I fall right into the middle of the pack. I don't want to be a personality and a good interview, I want to be known for my fighting. Scraping a decision isn't good enough - I need to make a statement and finish him in style."
Belcher is from a Thai boxing background but Bisping believes there are no areas in which he loses the fight this weekend. A part-time pundit, the Brit put his TV hat on to assess how the bout goes come Saturday night.
"I've got the speed advantage, speed kills," Bisping said. "He's a good fighter, he's got good Thai boxing, good leg kicks, very mediocre boxing, average wrestling game. He's supposedly got good ground skills although I don't really see it in his fights, I don't see him hitting sweeps or submission attempts. The only submissions I've seen are guillotine attempts.
"I've got him beaten in all areas. From what I've seen in his fights, he's easy to back up, some fighters can fight backwards and keep composure. He can't do that. I'll put him on the back foot, he'll become an easy target, I'll mix it up with takedowns and finish him with some ground and pound.
"I was caught by a kick from Vitor in the last fight, Alan's strongest suit is his kicking so he thinks he'll kick the hell out of me and it'll be an easy night. But I had abandoned my Thai boxing roots a bit, I've gone back to that, so if anyone gets kicked it'll be Alan."
Bisping also expects to fight Belcher on a level playing field, saying: "All my losses have come against guys who use TRT, and you only find out about it after the fight. Alan is younger than me, so if he's on TRT there's something drastically wrong. I think he's 28, he's not on TRT, and he's going to lose the fight."