UK fighter Michael Bisping continues to make more enemies than friends in a new interview with newspaper, The Mirror, and surprisingly fellow Brit Dan Hardy is the latest man to be targeted by the outspoken fighter.
Bisping references Hardy when being asked about criticism over the quality of the UFC 120 fight card which he headlines against Yoshihiro Akiyama in October.
“To be honest, you’ve got to have thick skin in this business – you put yourself in the public eye and you’re going to get negative comments,” says Bisping.
“To see it from some of the UK guys pisses me off. I’ve been a proud ambassador of UK MMA, I’ve worked hard and I’ve helped grow the sport to where it is. I haven’t disappeared off to America, like some Mohican wearing people and lived there and trained there, but then come back here and pretend I’m English.“
Not finished there, Bisping continues to reference Hardy, who spends much of his time in Los Angeles with his U.S girlfriend.
“My roots are here in England and I stay here and I train here and I’m proud to be English. You know, I don’t go training in America because the trainings better, but then come here and try and get all the UK fans on my side. I’m English and this is where I’m from and this is where I train”.
I suspect that Bisping’s comments are fueled more by how fans perceive him rather than any real dislike for Hardy, but either way he’s once again putting out the kind of soundbytes that often end up casting him as a ‘villain’ in the fans eyes.
On this occasion his sideswipe at Hardy could make life uncomfortable given that ‘The Outlaw’ is fighting in the c0-main event of the same event in London.
Hardy wasn’t the only fighter getting an earful from Bisping during the interview though.
On Patrick Cote: “I think I’m above Patrick Cote and he’s beneath me. He needs to stop talking (expletive) about me and get his arse in the gym and try and win a fight.”
On Chael Sonnen: “I think personally he’s a bit of a tool to be honest. Okay, he’s great at what he does and I’ve definitely laughed my a*se off at some of his comments. I think he’s great, he’s awesome at promoting a fight, he really is, but he’s delusional and he’s so far up his own a*se it’s unbelievable”.
He’s slightly more generous with his opinion on his next opponent Akiyama though.
“He’s dangerous, he’s an exciting fighter, but I do think that if I fight to the best of my ability then I should be able to deal with him.”
And he also appears to have respect for the abilities of the man who was originally expected to face him at UFC 120, Vitor Belfort.
“I’ve never questioned an opponent once, and the UFC will back me up on that, but there was talk of it being Vitor Belfort originally and I thought – “that’s a tasty one”, you know? But obviously I wasn’t going to turn it down.”
Given all the fighters he’s called out there’s never going to be any shortage of opponents for him, but if he does successfully navigate past Akiyama then he has a few opponents in mind.
“I think if I beat Akiyama well, I think either a rematch with Wanderlei or Chael Sonnen or Marquardt or whoever the top guys are in line for the title – I want to fight one of them contenders and then hopefully get a shot.”