Middleweight contenders Tim Kennedy and Michael Bisping will settle their score in the Octagon in a five-round main event at The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia. In the meantime, they'll be trash-talking one another with blogs on Yahoo Sports.
Every fight is the most important of your career, but the one coming up against Michael Bisping in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale on April 16 in Quebec City is particularly important.
I want to earn a top-contender status in the UFC, so I have to fight the best. Mike is ranked No. 5 in the UFC in the middleweight division and I'm No. 8, so this is a fight I need to keep moving up the ranks.
I couldn't be more excited about it because the fight is going to be the main event on a Fox Sports 1 show. This is my third fight since joining the UFC from Strikeforce and so far I'm undefeated and want to keep my win streak going.
I've wanted to fight Mike since his bout against my friend, Jorge Rivera, a little more than three years ago at UFC 127 in Sydney, Australia. He kneed Jorge illegally and then spat on his corner, and as far as I was concerned that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Bisping was loud, obnoxious, and a jerk, but when he fights one of my friends and fights dirty and does illegal things and should have gotten disqualified and wasn't and then spits on Jorge's corner, it's like, 'Now you've gone too far."
I'd had my eye on him, but that was the breaking point, the turning point, the point I thought, "screw this guy, I want to knock him out."
I was in Strikeforce at the time. It's taken a long time for this to happen, but all the pieces are in place now. Mike's always been a guy I've looked forward to fighting, and I knew at some juncture our paths would cross.
Is he a jerk because he's a loudmouth who likes to talk a lot? Is he a jerk because of what he did three years ago fighting against a friend of mine? Is it his overall dislikeability? Yes to all of that, but it's how he fights. I think he fights dirty. I don't even know how many times he's eye-poked an opponent. He has to hold the record. I'm going to have to talk to FightMetric about that. He probably holds the record for the most significant eye-pokes in the UFC. That's pretty telling. He does a whole bunch of things. I couldn't narrow it down to just one thing.
He likes to trash talk and has done a lot of it on Twitter. We've traded insults back and forth in social media, but I don't think there's anything he can say that would have an effect on me. He can make fun of my family. He can make fun of my military service in the Green Berets. I don't really respect the guy, so what's he going to say that's going to hurt my feelings? I'll handle things myself. I kind of take everything he says with a grain of salt. I don't care what he says.
When you call him out on some of the cheap things he's done in his career, he gets really defensive. He can be the tough, loud guy until someone calls him out on it. There's nothing he's ever done or said about me that's hit home. He made fun of my military service when he tweeted that he was kicking ass in the UFC when I was in basic training shining shoes. My response was: "Thank God we have had soldiers shining shoes since 1775 so we don't have to sound like how that dude sounds. That's horrific."
I was deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq with British Special Forces Units. I have great respect for the British military and the country as a whole, so I don't have anything negative to say about that. It's him as a person that I don't like; it's not where he's come from. It's just about him being a jerk. A bore.
The buildup, the rivalry…all that stuff happens before a fight. Mostly when you get in the cage, it's just a fight. I'm competitive when I fight, but I don't get emotionally involved. This will be no different even though I don't like him. I've fought guys that I like. When you're fighting a guy that you don't like, you have to be able to separate certain aspects of it.
It's still just a fight.
I think this is a fight that fans and the media want to see. Even though I think he's a dirtbag, he still shows up for fights. I can't say too much negatively about him because he's been in the top-five, top-10 in the world for what seems like six years. He's been in the title eliminator status three different times in his career in the UFC. He's very talented. People are going to see exactly what they want, which is a good fight. We're both gamers. We're both gangsters. We get in there and throw down. I like the knockout. He likes the knockout. I want to make it an ugly fight. I want to get in there and wrestle him and wear him down. I want him to be uncomfortable for 25 minutes or even less.
However long it takes, I will win.