Category Archives: Michael Bisping

Flag abuse continues with Yoel Romero and UFC champ Michael Bisping's latest exchange

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Filed under: News, UFC

Yoel Romero isn’t letting go of his feud with Michael Bisping despite recently failing in his attempt to earn a title fight with the UFC middleweight champion with his loss at UFC 213.

Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) would’ve put himself in line to fight Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) had he beat Robert Whittaker in an interim 185-pound title fight at UFC 213 earlier this month. He lost a unanimous decision, but that didn’t lessen his tension with “The Count.”

In fact, it might have actually heightened it; while the fight with Whittaker was playing out, Bisping was seated cageside and actually tore up a Cuban flag (via Twitter):

“The Solider of God” responded post-fight by burning a photo of Bisping holding the Union Jack flag (via Twitter):

Now it’s gone one step further.

Romero, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, today released a new video directed at No. 1-ranked Bisping, but this one came with far more productions, theatrics and a stern message directed at the Brit (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Despite their ill, it remains to be seen if a fight between Romero and Bisping ever takes place. Bisping is expected to meet Whittaker in a title-unification bout next, and the reigning champ has said he plans to retire once he loses the belt.

Should Bisping defend his title, a showdown with Romero could be possible, but it’s likely the American Top Team product would need to win another fight to position himself for the grudge match.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Michelle Waterson returns to analyst desk for Sunday's UFC Fight Night 113 event

UFC strawweight contender Michelle Waterson will join the broadcast team for this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 113 event, MMAjunkie today confirmed with FOX Sports officials.

Waterson joins UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former title challenger Kenny Florian as analysts on the FOX Sports desk in California alongside host Karyn Bryant.

Meanwhile, Dan Hardy and John Gooden will call the fights cageside from SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Heidi Androl interviews fighters backstage, while Bruce Buffer will take his familiar position in the octagon.

Waterson debuted as an analyst in January, when she was at the desk for “UFC on FOX 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena.” She believes the opportunity to do it again will actually continue to help her in-cage game, as well.

“I’m excited about it because as a martial artist, I think it’s always important to remember that you’re a student of the game, and the best way for me to do that is to force myself into situations where I have to study people that I don’t normally do,” Waterson told MMAjunkie. “I think that being behind the desk really does force you to step back as a fighter, yourself, and just analyze it from an outside perspective.”

UFC Fight Night 113 features a welterweight matchup between potential future contenders Gunnar Nelson (16-2-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Santiago Ponzinibbio (24-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC). Both the main card and preliminary bouts air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Waterson, who’s currently an honorable mention in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, admits that despite a decade of professional fighting experience, sitting behind a desk still brings out the nerves. But she’s excited to offer her expertise on the card, including the night’s co-feature, which sees a clash of fellow strawweights with Joanna Calderwood (11-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Cynthia Calvillo (5-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC).

“There’s a lot of hype behind Cynthia,” Waterson said. :She’s been able to pop off some really impressive wins, scrambling submissions. I think by her fighting ‘JoJo,’ it will be a great test for her because ‘JoJo’ is a great standup fighter who is more lengthy, more rangy and doesn’t necessarily like to go to the ground, so I’d like to see how Cynthia deals with her standup.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Robert Whittaker and UFC 213's other winning fighters?

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The UFC middleweight division crowned an interim champion on Saturday when Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero in the UFC 213 co-headliner.

With champion Michael Bisping on the sidelines, Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) claimed the interim 185-pound crown with a unanimous-decision victory over Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Prelims aired on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Also on the main card, Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC), Curtis Blaydes (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), Anthony Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC), and Rob Font (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) defeated their opponents for important wins in their respective careers.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 213’s most notable winning fighters.

* * * *

Anthony Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC)

Should fight: James Vick
Why they should fight:
It’s not unfair to overstate the importance of Pettis’ unanimous-decision victory over Jim Miller in his return to the lightweight division after a disastrous run at featherweight.

Pettis missed weight for an interim title fight with Max Holloway at UFC 206 in December and then was stopped with strikes for the first time in his career. He’s won just one of five fights prior to beating Miller, and even after coming off the win, it seems like “Showtime” is still at a crossroads.

The fall-off from Pettis’ tenure as UFC champ is significant, but at 30, hope is far from lost. He needs to take a reasonable approach to his career going forward, and that means not jumping back into the fold against top-five competition.

Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) is by no means an easy out for Pettis, but he’s a fighter who has not yet proven he can beat fighters who have accomplished what the former UFC champ has in his career. If Vick could beat Pettis that would elevate his status, but if Pettis won he would be on a winning streak for the first time in three years, and giving a fighter that type of confidence should not be ignored.

Curtis Blaydes

Should fight: Winner of Timothy Johnson vs. Junior Albini at UFC on FOX 25
Why they should fight: Blaydes was pegged as the biggest betting favorite on the card, and he came through victorious when he defeated a durable heavyweight foe in Daniel Omielanczuk by unanimous decision.

Blaydes is considered a fighter with a bright future in the heavyweight division and continued to show hints of promise against a seasoned opponent. He’s won three-straight after stumbling in his octagon debut but has still displayed frequent moments of inexperience, which indicates he shouldn’t yet be thrown into the top 15.

“Razor” must continue to fight opponents of a similar level, and the winner of the UFC on FOX 25 fight on July 22 between Johnson (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Albini (13-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) should provide a fight with closer odds than the one with Omielanczuk.

Alistair Overeem

Should fight: Marcin Tybura
Why they should fight: Overeem eclipsed Fabricio Werdum in their trilogy fight more than 11 years after the first meeting between the heavyweights when he scored a narrow majority-decision victory in a key bout for the weight class.

The Dutchman has been campaigning for a rematch with Stipe Miocic since he fell short in a title fight at UFC 203 in September. He’s put together back-to-back wins over Werdum and Mark Hunt since, and given the state of the weight class, that could be enough to warrant another title shot. UFC President Dana White, however, said “The Reem” is not next in line.

Miocic has wiped out most of the heavyweight contenders over the past few years, save for a few names who will likely slide into a title fight before Overeem. He will likely have to fight down in competition, and a matchup with Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) could keep Overeem busy.

There’s no question Overeem would be a considerable favorite against Tybura, who is riding a three-fight winning streak including a recent win over former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski. It’s one of the few names he hasn’t faced, though, and for Tybura it would give him the chance to break through from a middling contender into an elite one.

Robert Whittaker

Should fight: Michael Bisping
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Whittaker should fight Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) in a middleweight title unification bout next.

For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Yoel Romero burns Michael Bisping-Union Jack photo in response to flag-ripping incident

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Although Michael Bisping and Yoel Romero won’t be fighting anytime soon, their relationship continues to grow more hostile.

Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 213 pay-per-view headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Had Romero won the interim middleweight title fight, it would have set up a title-unification bout with champ Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) once he recovers from a knee injury.

Despite Romero and Whittaker putting on a “Fight of the Night” affair, one of the most memorable moments from the UFC 213 headliner came from outside the octagon. Bisping was seated cageside near Romero’s corner for the bout, and at one point decided to rip up a Cuban flag (via Twitter):

To the surprise of few, Bisping’s actions drew the ire of “The Soldier of God” when he was asked about it during UFC 213’s post-fight news conference (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Bisping has harshly criticized Romero as he’s attempted to climb the middleweight ranks and get a title shot against the Brit. He’s relentlessly labeled Romero a cheater after the Cuban was handed a potential USADA violation in January 2016 before tainted supplements were proven to blame for the failed test.

Romero has rolled out some smaller potshots at Bisping but has largely taken the high road. That ended today, when Romero fired back – literally – at Bisping by burning a photo of the UFC champ with the Union Jack and posted it on social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

It’s clear the bad blood between Romero and Bisping isn’t going away. However, whether they will ever have an opportunity to settle the score inside the octagon remains to be seen.

For more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

After interim title win that felt like the real thing, Whittaker is the fight Bisping needs

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Robert Whittaker was standing in the cage with one fully functional leg, and he couldn’t keep from laughing.

What was so funny? Oh, just his left knee. He’d hurt it in training for his bout against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, then tried hard to get it healed in time for Saturday night’s pay-per-view main event bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Moments into the fight, Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) stabbed at Whitaker’s left knee with a series of lunging kicks, and yep, there went that knee. Then Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) kept fighting on it for four more rounds, which would be impressive enough by itself. That he beat one of the world’s best middleweights on it, that’s something else.

“I thought it would be 100 percent by now,” Whittaker said in the cage after his unanimous-decision victory. “But the bastard kicked it and set it back weeks.”

Did I mention he was laughing during all this? Because that seems important.

Same with his response to UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who took to the microphone to explain that he’d come in the cage to talk “(expletive),” but it was a great fight from both Romero and Whitaker, so he had to give them credit.

Then, of course, Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) went ahead and talked that (expletive) anyway, calling Whittaker a “poser” for wearing the interim title he’d just won, before throwing down his own belt in a gesture that made up for in vehemence what it lacked in internal logic.

Whittaker? He looked at Bisping’s belt there on the canvas, then looked back up at Bisping.

“Can I keep that?” he said.

Now it was our turn to laugh. This Whittaker guy, he can be funny when he wants to be. And when he’s opposite Bisping, who conducts himself like a cross between a pro-wrestling heel and a teen-movie bully (he actually ripped up the Cuban flag at cageside during Romero’s fight, because what’s a rivalry without some solid props), the combination has the potential to be a lot of fun.

All of which is to say, remember that text message challenge that Georges St-Pierre reportedly issued to both Bisping and UFC President Dana White earlier this week? Yeah, forget that. Please. It was a nonsense fight to begin with, and now it feels even more unnecessary.

One way you can tell is by how important the Whittaker-Romero fight felt. Usually these interim title fights are a farce so obvious that even the UFC barely bothers to go through the motions of pretending that it’s really a championship affair. The winner gets a belt, sure, and that makes for more shiny jewelry to spruce up the event poster, but we all know those belts come cheap, and the interim variety is mainly useful as a token that can be redeemed for a shot at the real title.

This one was different. Whittaker and Romero were both accomplished enough middleweights that theirs felt like a fight to determine the true champion. Bisping might have the actual belt, but he has yet to defend it against an actual contender after more than a year of ownership, and he’d likely be a betting underdog against anyone in the top five right now.

His fight against Whittaker will be as much about solidifying his grip on the middleweight title as it will be about defending it. He took the belt fair and square, but he still has some convincing to do if he wants people to regard him as the champ.

In that sense, Whittaker is a gift. In his last three fights, he’s beaten Romero, Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. There’s not a more legit middleweight on the planet right now than the 26-year-old Whitaker, which might be why it’s so delightful to see him crack jokes while Bisping activates his own internal-feud-generation software.

The entire division needs this fight, and far more than it needs Bisping and St-Pierre to use each other as walking ATMs. Whittaker needs it, because it’s always unsatisfying when interim titles simply melt into real ones. And Bisping? He needs it most of all, as his antics after the fight reminded us.

Because when you go throwing down your belt at the feet of the man who’s fought his way to the top, you have to be careful that when the show is over you don’t pick up the replica belt by mistake.

For more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Robert Whittaker: Mutual respect with Michael Bisping – but 'no mercy' in title-unifier

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LAS VEGAS – Michael Bisping may have already begun his fight-hyping antics, but don’t expect Robert Whittaker to play along.

After a gritty, come-from-behind unanimous-decision win over Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 213 pay-per-view headliner, Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) was awarded the middleweight division’s interim belt. Which, at least for now, means he’s next in line to meet undisputed champ Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC).

Bisping was at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena to witness the new champ’s crowning in the night’s substitute headliner. And, of course, he couldn’t leave without at least some theatrics – in this case, a rather puzzling belt throw. But if the champ has any plans of getting under Whittaker’s skin, he might be in for a frustrating ride.

“I haven’t gotten any bad vibes from Michael,” Whittaker said after UFC 213. “He hasn’t done anything crazy to try to get in my face. I think he respects me, as well. He is who he is. And he’s going to do what he’s going to do. And I’m just going to be me.

“I go into the fight with the same amount of respect for every athlete. And I’m going to be me in that fight. I’m going to be me on the media. Outside the fight, I’m going to be me. I’m going to be me, and he can work with that.”

At the end of the day, Whittaker gets that champ “Michael Bisping is Michael Bisping” – and what that means promotionally. And, as he made sure to state repeatedly on the chat with reporters, he holds a lot of respect for the division’s champ.

But? “We’re going to touch gloves now; it’s fate,” Whittaker said. “We have to fight now. And when we do, there’s going to be no mercy.”

As clear as the Bisping-Whittaker matchup seems to be now, it’s not like logic prevails whenever UFC belts are involved. Not that long ago it seemed pretty certain that ex-welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre would be the one fighting Bisping for the 185-pound title – despite the fact St-Pierre hasn’t set foot in the octagon since 2013.

But even after a full-blown press conference held to promote the bout, it fell apart when St-Pierre’s injury timeframe wouldn’t fit with Bisping’s plans. Romero was then slated as the title challenger. But, in yet another turn, it was Bisping who got hurt. Hence, the interim title that Whittaker now holds.

With so many twists and turns, Whittaker would be justified in not feeling 100 percent certain that he’s next for Bisping. But asked whether he still feared that St-Pierre might jump in line, the newly crowned champ didn’t seem all that fazed.

“At this point in time, I’m pretty sure Bisping and I are fated to fight,” Whittaker said. “We were supposed to fight at another time (Bisping pulled out of a scheduled UFC 193 appointment due to an injury), and it’s like snakes and ladders. I had to fight a lot of dudes to get back into that range. But now here I am again. And here we are again.

“We’re going to fight. What Bisping does, who he fights, that’s his own business. I’m taking everything one fight at a time. I’m worrying about me.”

That attitude has been working out well for Whittaker, who now holds not only the interim title, but a divisional-best eight-fight active winning streak. And he took no shortcuts to get there, having most recently taken down two of the  most notorious 185-pound boogeymen in both Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.

But unlike the Souza fight, which ran smoothly in route to a second-round TKO win for Whittaker, the Romero one took resilience. More specifically, it took overcoming a rough initial two rounds that the champ would credit, in his post-fight speech, to a bum knee that didn’t quite appreciate being stomped on early by Romero early.

Addressing the issue after the fight, Whittaker was careful not to make hasty conclusions about the extent of the damage. He did say that, apart from the knee, there are a few lingering little injuries that need dealing with. Which means a hypothetical return date for November, for instance, doesn’t seem that likely. But he won’t commit to any diagnosis or timeframes before checking in with his doctors.

In fact, even though he did sustain the knee injury during camp, Whittaker at this point can’t even tell for sure whether or not it was healed walking into Saturday’s bout.

“It could’ve had an absolutely pristine knee – and then he stomped it, and then it wasn’t so pristine,” Whittaker said. “If it was good, it wasn’t after that.”

Regardless, fact is that Whittaker had to deal with the unexpected hurdle early on and re-route and come out on top in the following rounds. All the while, with a poker face. And though that certainly took a lot of his own guts, Whittaker credits his team for keeping his head in the game.

“In the first and second rounds it was hard to ignore, because it was fresh,” Whittaker said. “The injury was fresh and it hurt. With the adrenaline running in a fight, for something to hurt, you know it’s injured.

“But my corners – like I said a hundred times I have the best team in the world. They have me precise answers. They have me the cool, calm and collected focus that I needed. And I drew from that to really get over that hill in this fight.”

Whittaker has a UFC belt to show for his efforts. But it’s still an interim one – and, given the recent proliferation of them, it is bound to come with some level of skepticism. Bisping was, in fact, the first to discredit it – going as far as calling Whitaker a “fake” and a “poser.”

But there’s someone who’s not about to diminish the weight of the interim title – and it happens to be the one man who knows just how much effort went into getting it.

“I had to fight a five-round war with Yoel Romero,” Whittaker said. “I think if you fight a five-round war with Yoel Romero, you deserve a medal of your own. Because that dude is an absolute – he’s one of the most dangerous people on the planet. No one wants to fight him, and for good reason.

“I worked hard for that bit of shining medal there. And that what that is a symbol of: that I’m now the No. contender while the current champ is on the bench. I’m filling his seat at the moment. I’m taking on the headhunters. I’m taking on those killers. And I’m taking on the responsibility of being champion.”

To hear Whittaker’s full press conference, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Michael Bisping explains why he threw belt at 'poser' Robert Whittaker's feet after UFC 213

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UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and new interim champ Robert Whittaker met in the center of the octagon following the UFC 213 main event, and to the surprise of few “The Count” made quite a scene.

After some largely pleasant words were exchanged following Whittaker’s (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) unanimous decision win over Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (prelims aired on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass), Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) threw his title belt at Whittaker’s feet and walked away.

It was a curious move by the Brit, but he explained his actions on the UFC 213 post-fight show on FS1.

“I am the undisputed champion of the world,” Bisping said. “This fake, this poser, is standing there with an interim belt, like he’s the champion. I’m the champion. Here, take it. We’re going to fight, so right now I’m still the champ. I’m not going to walk around with it on. You’ve got one, I’ve got one. Take it. May the best man win. Whoever wins the fight, you can have it, you’re the champ.”

Bisping also had a moment with Romero prior to his face-to-face with Whittaker. Prior to the announcement of the judges’ decision, the pair of heated foes exchanged words and had to be restrained by security.

He explained that, as well.

“He was sticking his tongue out at me, so I just reciprocated the love,” Bisping said. “When I got into the cage as well I was standing in the back whilst they made the announcement. Then he walked up and he kind of faked, like he was going to attack me. So, I reacted. All hell broke loose for second.”

It’s unknown when the title unification bout between Bisping and Whittaker will take place. UFC President Dana White said he would be interested in hosting the fight in Whittaker’s native Australia, but he suffered a knee injury in the contest and the extent of the damage remains to be seen.

For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Justin Gaethje: I bet Michael Bisping knows how to say my name now after UFC debut

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LAS VEGAS – UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against his debut opponent Michael Johnson.

But he might be building a new one with Michael Bisping, who backed Johnson in Friday’s FS1-televised The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“Bisping, he said that he wanted Michael Johnson to go out there and represent all UFC fighters,” Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) told MMAjunkie after his spectacular second-round TKO of Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC). “That’s only because they’re cut from the same cloth. Not many fighters want Michael Johnson and the way he was speaking to represent them. You want me representing you, because I put it on the line.

“I’m not here to crap on anybody, except Michael Bisping. He didn’t even know how to say my name. I bet he knows now.”

Gaethje and Johnson jawed back and forth in the buildup to their fight, and Johnson made some poor choices when insulting Gaethje’s family. Gaethje said he didn’t let the words get him off track but kept them in the back of his head during the fight.

Then, he had the last word with a knee to the face that forced referee John McCarthy to intervene in the second.

Just one round earlier, Johnson had badly hurt Gaethje with an uppercut, sending him teetering backward and nearly ending his UFC debut in disaster.

“He almost finished me; ‘Big’ John (McCarthy) said he was going to stop it,” Gaethje said. “I was there. Obviously, when I got smoked, I was a little dazed. But we get punched in the face. But like I said, I’ve got the biggest heart. I am the most violent guy in the division. I’ll prove it time and time again.”

Gaethje is now targeting an interim title fight with Tony Ferguson.

After all the bad blood, Gaethje told Johnson good job and commended him for hanging in as long as he could before the stoppage. Now, he’s ready to take over the rest of the lightweight division.

“On to the next one,” Gaethje said. “That was cool. But I have something to prove here. I’ve been saying I’m the best in the world for a long time, so I will have another fight. Gotta start preparing now.”

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 213's Yoel Romero has a weird way of looking at his rivalry with Michael Bisping

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Filed under: News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – Despite all the trash talk he’s endured from UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, Yoel Romero said he bears no ill will toward the titleholder.

He’s got an interesting way of putting it, though.

“I follow God,” Romero (12-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) told MMAjunkie during a media day in support of his interim middleweight title bout against Robert Whittaker (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) at UFC 213. “God says love your neighbor as you love yourself. If I need to donate an organ to Mr. Bisping, he can count on it.

“That does not take away that if we see each other’s face one day in the octagon, I will do everything in my power to get that victory.”

Romero, 40, bears the nickname “Soldier of God” and exudes piety in his pre-fight interviews. On Wednesday, he said he’ll win his fight with the Aussie – put together after the champ was forced to the sidelines due to a knee surgery – because he’s flanked by the man above.

Although Bisping once called him “the biggest cheating (expletive) in the whole sport,” Romero chose to take the high road.

Still, he once tweeted Bisping “doesn’t have the heart nor the juevos” to stand across him in the octagon. He told the champ “I love you – see you soon, boy,” after knocking out ex-champ Chris Weidman this past November at UFC 205.

Now, he’s more focused on getting past Whittaker, who’s proven to be a dangerous matchup for opponents with aspirations to win gold.

Bisping took the easy shot at his rival by picking the surging Aussie for Saturday’s fight, which co-headlines the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and sets up a title-unifier. The champ said Whittaker will dance around Romero and out-strike him on the way to victory.

Romero obviously disagrees with that take. But he isn’t biting on the easy bait.

“I see Mr. Bisping as just another fan of MMA and the UFC that really doesn’t like me,” he said. “The people who the whole world appreciates and likes are people that are blessed. But not everybody likes everyone else. I guess Mr. Bisping doesn’t like me very much, or simply that’s the way he sees the fight.

“Maybe in his view, the favorite for him is Robert Whittaker. But I’ve said many times to many people, it’s not what man wants – it’s who the creator of life decides.”

For more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White: UFC champ Michael Bisping doesn't turn down fights, will meet UFC 213 winner next

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Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White has plenty of fighters who duck fights on his roster. But champ Michael Bisping, he guarantees, isn’t one of them.

Bisping claimed the 185-pound crown in June of 2016, after stepping in on short notice to knock out Luke Rockhold in the first round of their UFC 199 encounter. His reign, however, hasn’t exactly been a popular one – starting with his lone title defense, a rematch against Dan Henderson that drew criticism for both the choice of challenger and, for some, even the unanimous decision that settled it.

But the main argument made against the champ is that he has yet to face the division’s higher-ranked contenders – such as Cuban standout Yoel Romero. And it didn’t really help his case when former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre was announced as the next 185-pound challenger immediately upon his return from retirement.

The situation atop the UFC’s complicated middleweight division is bound to see a few new developments over the next few days. But, as of now, White can guarantee one thing.

“I’m going to tell you this: There are guys who turn down fights every day here – some I’m very public about, some I’m not, ” White recently told MMAjunkie in an exclusive sit-down interview. “Bisping does not turn down fights. Bisping does not turn down fights. He does not. So I have a lot of respect for Mike. I like guys (like him).

“You’re in the fight business. You should be willing to fight anybody, anywhere, any time – especially if you’re the champion or one of the top (expletive) five guys in the world. You shouldn’t be turning down fights with anybody. Bisping does not.”

Things have changed quite a bit since St-Pierre’s (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) return announcement. Given the Canadian ex-champ’s inability to fight any sooner than October, Romero (13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) was declared the next title challenger. But then it was Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) who couldn’t fight right away due to a knee injury.

Romero was then placed on a match for the division’s interim belt, opposite fast-rising star Robert Whittaker (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC). Currently ranked No. 2 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, Romero is on an eight-fight streak that includes his most recent knockout of ex-champ Chris Weidman at UFC 205. Whittaker, who’s on a seven-fight victorious run capped off by a UFC on FOX 24 TKO destruction of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, sits at No. 4.

The pay-per-view interim title fight is set to co-headline this Saturday’s 213, which takes place at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. And, although St-Pierre hasn’t lost hope that his matchup with Bisping will happen, White says that the new interim titleholder will be the one meeting the English champ.

“(Bisping) is in line for the winner,” White said. “Bisping’s never turned down a fight, this guy. Me and Bisping go back a long way from his season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and I’ve done a lot of things for Michael Bisping, and Michael Bisping’s done a lot of things for me.

“We have a really good relationship and we communicate a lot, even when we’re both not really happy with the situation and what’s going on. Me and Michael will get this done.”

On his end, Bisping isn’t exactly on board with the whole interim belt thing – which he considered “a little premature” and a mere “participation award.” But White is quite happy with what was ultimately a solution to a less-than-ideal scenario.

“I’m in this situation right now where Bisping’s hurt,” White said. “This should be Bisping vs. Romero right now. Whittaker just destroyed ‘Jacare’ and Romero has been beating everybody along the way, waiting for this title shot.

“Bisping’s not ready yet. And if there was ever an interim title fight, how is this one not worthy? This fight’s going to be ridiculous.”

To hear from White himself, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.’

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Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie