Michael Bisping was taking a big gamble competing at the inaugural UR Fight event this past weekend. Only a handful of weeks removed from his five-round war with Anderson Silva, the Englishman took on renowned wrestler and former adversary Chael Sonnen in a grappling match. It wasn’t exactly an action-packed match, and it failed to live up to the success of their 2012 MMA fight. Still, Bisping, taking on one of the best wrestlers to enter MMA, showed that his takedown defense remains top notch.
“I think, if anything, I was pushing the action more,” Bisping told John Franklin of Combat Press after the bout. “I was always at a disadvantage taking this fight. In my MMA fights, I’m predominantly a striker, but I showed tonight that I can grapple.”
However, don’t expect to see “The Count” compete in very many grappling contests.
“My longtime jiu-jitsu coach, Brady Fink, he’d love me to do that,” Bisping said. “He always tells me I’m a good grappler, but right now I’m just focused on the UFC.
“When you’re contracted with the UFC, you’re contracted with the UFC, you know? That’s where my bread is buttered. That’s how I support my family. I want to get a shot at the UFC title, and that’s what’s important — not Metamoris, not submission grappling, running around in a fucking leotard — just fighting Luke Rockhold and beating Luke Rockhold.”
One of the interesting aspects of Bisping competing was the man providing color commentary: Bisping’s former training partner, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The always comical Rampage had a few choice words for Bisping, even going so far as to call Bisping a “cunt” on air.
When given the chance to respond to Jackson’s verbal attack, Bisping showcased a new attribute he’s been working on: self-control.
“Over the years and I look back at old interviews and cringe,” Bisping admitted. “I just look and go, ‘Did I really say that?’ Certainly I’ve said things I regret and done things I regret, of course.”
And Rampage’s comments during the pay-per-view? Bisping had the perfect chance to show the new, mature side of himself.
“I’m not going to lower myself to that,” Bisping said. “I know for a fact he was calling me a four-letter word that starts with a c on the broadcast. I think that speaks volumes about his character.”
Don’t mistake Bisping for any chivalrous knight coming to save the day, though. He’s still the outspoken bad boy he’s always been. “The Count” just chooses to sling verbal insults with a bit more tact nowadays.