Michael Bisping calls his February 27 bout with Anderson Silva a “bucket-list fight.” Anderson Silva says, “I feel like this fight probably should have happened sometime before.”
The Brazilian and the Brit sparred over steroids on this week’s conference call for their match at the O2 Arena, available in the United States exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. The pair also made news.
• Silva teased an announcement after commenting on a recent appearance with UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones: “All I can tell everyone is that there’s some big storms coming ahead, some big storms.”
• Bisping revealed that a former UFC champion turned down this bout with Silva: “Vitor Belfort turned the fight down,” he directly answered a question on the mystery man who refused to fight Silva. “There you go.”
• Anderson Silva admitted a mixed-martial arts recession of sorts in Brazil. Despite the UFC enjoying a banner year in the U.S., Spider characterized Brazil as “going through a cycle.” He stated his preference for fighting in his homeland instead of Bisping’s. But he acknowledged a dropoff in interest in MMA in Brazil and noted the nation’s economic struggles as likely factoring into Brazil getting bypassed for fights. The son of Curitiba pointed out, “Brazil is still one of the biggest countries in producing top talent.”
• Bisping, always in the conversation for a UFC title shot but never receiving one despite 24 fights under the promotion’s banner, says he wants a shot at the belt in 2016. He reasons that if he beats Silva, he will have won four of five fights and deserve a crack at the middleweight championship: “After this, yeah, I want to fight for the title.”
With Silva fighting past 40, and Bisping turning 37 the day after the match, both men fight past their physical primes, which sometimes makes for an offensive-minded, entertaining fight. Their experience in high-profile bouts against elite competition makes their octagon IQs near the top. With bout, the Count moves his UFC bout count into third most in the promotion’s history; former champion Silva’s 10 defenses of his middleweight strap makes for a promotional record. The men share nearly two decades fighting for the UFC.
Silva rejects the notion that he fights for redemption after an embarrassing knockout loss to Chris Weidman, a bizarre leg break in the rematch, and the disgrace of a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs for his fight with Nick Diaz. He says he fights because he loves the challenge. He remains a big proponent of pursuing dreams. “If you don’t,” he noted, “you’re going to be frustrated for the rest of your life if you didn’t try.”
“I have to utilize a lot of movement, fight my fight, and take it to him,” the 27-7 Mancunian figures. He says he observed holes in Silva’s game in the Diaz fight that gives him great confidence that the referee raises his hand at the conclusion. “He hasn’t been very active lately,” he notes of his opponent who last notched a win in 2012. “And yeah, that does affect people’s performance, I believe.”