Was the title shot expected?
“Ironically enough, we talked about it two months ago, me and Mike. He was leaving for his movie, I’m like, “do me a favor, stay in shape out there”.”
“I felt like there was a good chance something like that would happen, and just the stars lined up for Michael Bisping. I mean, he just beat the GOAT and he’s doing movies now. F***, I mean, why not fight for a title?”
Will conditioning be an issue given that Bisping was filming XXX3 when the call came?
“Well let’s be honest, I don’t know what kind of time – usually when I do movies and I try and train at the same time, I usually – I’m being sarcastic – but yeah, he’s doing a movie. What can he do? He’s going on a treadmill, you know, he was doing maintenance probably for the most part. We didn’t think we were probably fighting till August realistically. Exercise compared to actual training is a whole different ball game.
“And I say with Mike and I say it to his face and I said it earlier to him too, and there’s a lot of truth to this, and people are going to get sick and tired of me saying how mental it is, but fighting is very mental. And Mike comes in the gym on the first day of camp, three months – we usually start three months before the fight. He comes in first day, three months – maybe sometimes two, sometimes ten weeks, whatever it is – but he comes in the gym, he performs at the same level, same minutes, same amount of rounds, same amount of output, he performs that same way as he does the last hard training of camp. So that’s just Michael.
“Michael’s a guy that his work ethic and he just doesn’t not know how to work extremely hard. And I say it, he’s got a resting heart rate of 35 beats a minute. That’s a gift he’s got. Am I worried about his exhaustion or him getting tired? Of course. Who wouldn’t? Of course I worry about it.
“Do I think he did the right things [being] out filming XXX, hanging out with Vin Diesel and that type of s***? You think I think he was out there getting sharp for a f***ing world title fight? F*** no. He wasn’t. But Michael’s got a tank that can go twenty-five minutes. He’s trained his last six fights for a five-round fight. His last six fights in a row have all been five rounds. He knows how to go twenty-five minutes, he’s got the mind for it and he’s got many, many years of doing this. This is what he’s been training his whole life. I know he put this up on his social media, you know ‘I’ve been training my whole life,’ he’s exactly right what he’s saying.
“And do I want a full camp? Do I wish we had the three months, the ten weeks? Of course we do. But do we think we would have got a shot any time soon? I don’t know, it doesn’t look that way. You know, when we started putting all the pieces of the puzzle [together] – Jacare, Weidman going to surgery, he’s gonnaheal, he’s gonna get a rematch, there might be a trilogy, some Joe Blogs might come in, somebody might get hurt, Anderson Silva might…you know what I mean? There’s a lot. Mike’s been playing this f***ing game for years and he hasn’t got a shot yet. So the company calls him, says ‘hey, here’s your shot.’ Two weeks, two days, two hours, he’s gotta take it. So what are we gonna do? And he’s gonna win it.”
“Listen to what I’m saying. Everybody can slap me in the face after if it doesn’t go that way, but he’s gonna win this fight. Michael Bisping’s gonna be champion of the world. Would it blow your mind?”
Has Bisping fixed errors from his last fight with Rockhold?
“Yeah it is, and it came out in his last fight with Anderson. Mike’s come leaps and bounds with his mental game. And sometimes you tell somebody certain things, they take offense to ‘em. But there’s no offense to them. Mike’s a smart guy. He’s thinking fast. You can tell by the way he speaks, the way he talks, the way he’s charismatic on camera. He’s an intelligent guy. And he gets ahead of himself. His head gets ahead of his body sometimes. He can work himself up. That’s why he’s such an exciting fighter, that’s why he sells fights.
“He sees you at the weigh-ins and he wants to punch you in the face. You know, he sees you in the media day and he wants to punch you in the face. He’s a real deal fighter. He’s a fighter. He’s a fighter that became an athlete. So with Mike, we had to harness that a little bit better.
“Mike’s got great rhythm, it’s that kick that what’s-his-name [Rockhold] caught him with. You know, Mike can avoid that. Mike was in there and his mind was moving a little faster than his body was and he got caught, he got caught in that guillotine. And I think he’s definitely just a much smarter guy, a much more relaxed fighter now and sharp in all areas. I mean, he’s sharp physically. We gain inches here and there, you know, better kicks, better punches, better takedown. But mentally is where we really gotta f***ing, you know, get to another level. Mentally is obviously the only way we’re going to get to another level. Because his physical capabilities are there. They beat a lot of top-ten guys, but we want to be able to beat the best. And the best guys out there, their mind’s there. You feel me? Like that’s what separates the champions from the rest of the guys. So I think Mike’s got his mind to where he’s got a championship mind and the goal is to prove it obviously June 4th.”
“Where is the gameplan? We got two weeks to prepare for a fight. We gotta go, we gotta stay sharp like we did [against] Anderson. He avoided a lot of Anderson’s bulls***. He’s gotta fight his fight. Mike’s gottatake control of this fight and let Luke in his mind right now and sort of be his nemesis, okay? Because he thinks that he can whoop Mike. When he finds that that’s not going to happen, when he finds out that Mike’s digging into him and he’s making him pay, we’re going to flip the script. And that’s the way I see it going.
“I don’t wanna get too… I gotta save these conversations for Mike when he gets home from f***ing being Hollywood right now, but at the end of the day, we’re going to get him. You know, Mike believes in himself. Mike’s got the ability to beat him. Anyone can win on any night if you’ve got the right tools to be there. Mike’s got the tools to be there, Mike’s got the tools to be there. Mike’s a top ten guy. Mike’s a top-four, top-five guy right now. He’s there for a reason. He’s not just there because he was gifted that. You know, the promotions, nobody’s been doing that guy favors. He’s fighting top-ten guys every fight. He’s a mentally tough son-of-a-bitch, man. You know, on different levels. And for me, we can look at it as a blessing. We spend ten weeks sometimes and we’re burnt out, but Mike needs to do it. Mike’s mind needs to do it, work out hard that time. He’s going to be fine. Mike’s gonna give Luke a shock.”
The coach prediction on how Bisping beats Rockhold: