Article

The Count's Quotables

Michael Bisping returns to the Octagon on September 22nd to face Brian Stann in UFC 152 action in Toronto...
UFC middleweight Michael BispingWith Chael Sonnen gaining heroic status for accepting a short notice fight with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a few days ago (a bout that ultimately went to Vitor Belfort), the title of most polarizing UFC fighter may be heading back to middleweight contender Michael “The Count” Bisping, who certainly has a love / hate relationship with the UFC fanbase.

That’s not really a fair assessment of Bisping (who faces Brian Stann at UFC 152 on September 22) though. And I hate to kill his reputation as the fighter fans love to hate, but Bisping isn’t a bad guy at all. Yes, he’s a straight shooter who likes to stir the pot, yet when all is said and done, he’s really just – as folks in his native England would say – one of the lads.

But we’ll let you judge for yourself with a few memorable quotes uttered by Bisping since he arrived in the UFC.

ON CARRYING THE FLAG FOR BRITISH MMA (2006)
“I suppose it is quite a lot of pressure because people have always been quick to write the English off and say, ‘ah, they don’t know what they’re doing over there and they’re not too good. So I hope to fly the flag well and change people’s opinions on that.  So far I’m doing a good job, but it’s still early.  I do take that responsibility seriously though and I definitely want to do the UK proud.”

ON LIFE IN VEGAS FOR THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 3 (2006)
“There were little things here and there, but it wasn’t a huge culture shock. In the house there were certain slang words and dialects that people struggled with, but on the whole, everyone was pretty cool.  Sometimes the sense of humor – people use a lot of sarcasm in England – they wouldn’t understand it in America, and they kinda look at you a bit funny and wonder what the hell are you talking about. (Laughs) But there wasn’t a huge culture shock – it was just like England, but with better weather and no rain.”

SCHOOL DAYS (2006)
“Careerwise, nothing ever grabbed me, so I went to college and I ended up doing a course for advanced electrical engineering.  It just bored me to tears.  I did it for three months and just left because I was falling asleep in the classes.”

WORKING MAN (2006)
“You name it, I’ve done it. But they were all the crappy jobs though, nothing too flamboyant.  I was a slaughterman, builder, and laborer.

HARD LESSONS (2006)
“You always think you’re going to be great and you’re going to do things, but then I got in my early 20’s and I was quite disappointed. And if I was being realistic, my life was going nowhere really.  And it was going nowhere fast and I wasn’t getting any younger.”  

A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (2006)
“I had never been happy in anything I did. So when I started training full-time for mixed martial arts in the summer of 2003, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

BEHIND EVERY STRONG MAN… (2006)
“My girlfriend couldn’t be any more supportive than she has been. She knew I wasn’t happy in the jobs I was in and she always wanted better for me and always knew that I was capable of much more.  So when I took this move, she was right behind me and was confident that I could do well.  And ultimately, she knows that I’m doing this for myself and for my family.”

EDUCATING THE MASSES (2006)
“You tell them what you do and they look at you a bit strange or think you’re a thug.  They have no idea of the technical aspects involved.  But I bore people to death at great lengths to educate them.”

COMING UP THE HARD WAY (2006)
“I never had anything handed to me, and everything that I’ve had, I had to work for. My mum and dad never had much money and I had a humble upbringing.  I’ve done the crappy jobs, I worked 12 hour days in the middle of the winter, getting up when it’s pitch dark and going home when it’s pitch black.  Now I’ve left that all behind for the moment, and fingers crossed I won’t go back to it.  That definitely gives me a little extra drive.  I’ve moved on from that and I don’t want to go back.  It keeps my feet on the ground, keeps me working hard, and keeps me training and focused.”

AFTER WINNING TUF 3 (2006)
“You’re not gonna see me in any factories for quite some time.”

JUST ONE OF THE LADS (2008)
“I’m just a normal guy and I will always be just one of the lads. I’m just fortunate enough that I get paid to do a job that I love and that I’m passionate about.  With that job, a few people know who you are and I’m earning good money now, but I’ll always be the same person, and I’ve got a lot of people to keep me grounded – my family and my friends – so I don’t live the Hollywood lifestyle. Between fights, I’m just training in the gym, and when I’m not in the gym I’m just at home with my girlfriend and the kids, so it’s just usual stuff really.”

HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED? (2008)
“I love what I do now, and in interviews, people always ask what’s changed about my life, and the main thing that’s changed is that I’m happy.  I’m happy with what I do and I never want to go back to working the long days for next to no money.  That’s what makes me train so hard.  When I’m training for a fight, I don’t mess around, I’m there for business.”

ON BEING A ROLE MODEL (2008)
“I’m absolutely comfortable with that, and it’s a great honor. I’ve never really given it that much thought, but I do get quite a few emails from kids through my website and recently I went to a home for boys and had a talk with them about the future and things like that and they seemed to really listen to me and I think I connected with them. I’m very happy about that and if I can make some kind of difference and maybe give kids inspiration to stay on the straight and narrow, train, and do good things in their lives, then that’s great that I’m in the position to do that.  It’s something I welcome and take seriously.”

ON COACHING TUF 9 (2009)
“I really don’t see what I did that was so bad. I was supportive of my team and tried to get them to win their fights? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? I got into a couple arguments with (Team US’) DaMarques Johnson, but I don’t really see what the big deal was.”

I AM WHO I AM (2009)
“I am who I am. I speak my mind, but a lot of what I say sometimes is tongue in cheek and I think sometimes people don’t get that and they just think I’m being arrogant and cocky. I don’t class myself as arrogant. I’m still learning my trade, but you have to have confidence. What do the people want me to say? Do they want me to say I’m fighting someone really tough as Dan (Henderson) and I’m gonna get my ass kicked? I can’t say that. I believe I’m gonna win the fight and sometimes it upsets people. I don’t know what to say to those people; I’m just trying to go about my business and take care of my kids. As long as the people closest to me in my life are happy, as long as I’m doing right by my kids, my team, and everyone close to me, then I’m doing a pretty good job. Obviously there are fans out there who are fantastic and really support me. Some of the messages I get through my website are pretty incredible. People say how I’ve changed their lives and really inspired them to get fit, and how my success has inspired them to change their lives. That’s amazing and I answer every single email. But not everybody feels that way and I think The Ultimate Fighter did it even more. The people that like me liked me even more, and the people that hated me hated me even more.”

ON THE DAN HENDERSON FIGHT (2009)
“Obviously my last fight didn’t go as planned, and that’s a bit of an understatement. To be honest I don’t have any excuses. I got hit with a good shot and I got knocked out. I thought I was doing pretty well in the fight. I lost the first round. I was winning the second up until I got caught, and if I didn’t get caught I could have gone on to win that fight. It’s not like I was getting completely manhandled and destroyed and being punked. But I did get caught and knocked out.”

COMING BACK AGAINST DENIS KANG (2009)
“Mentally for this fight, I’ve got to come out there and push the pace. My best performances in the past have been when I’ve come out and been the aggressor. So I’ve got to go back to that and back to my old self, if you will. If you’ve seen my old fights, I’ve come out there and I’ve just gone straight through guys, finishing most of them in the first round. My first ten professional fights, I only went past the first round once, so that’s what I’ve got to go back to – I’ve got to find that fire inside me and just get that ruthless killer instinct back.”

TRASH TALKING 101 (2011)
“I’ve got a rep for talking smack, and I’m not saying I don’t talk crap here and there, but I’ve never started anything first. Look at my career and you’ll see guys like Dan Miller, (Yoshihiro) Akiyama, nothing but respect all the way.”

ON JORGE RIVERA (2011)
“I think he’s got a big carried away with himself because he’s knocked out a few bums here and a shot fighter or two there lately. All of a sudden he thinks he’s a top fighter and something of a tough guy smacktalker. Oh, okay Jorge. But before he makes a proper arse of himself I think he needs to look closely at the people he’s been beating, and ask himself why he’s been beating them. Seriously, out of his last three opponents, I only knew of Nate Quarry. I had to Google the other two. I’m not saying Rivera’s not dangerous; he can obviously punch and can have a war, but I’m surprised he’s been talking the way he has. We’re talking about a guy who got tapped out by a welterweight kickboxer (Martin Kampmann in 2008).”

RIVERA PART II (2011)
“The name Jorge Rivera didn’t exactly send a surge of excitement through me, put it that way. After three good wins over (Denis) Kang, Miller and Akiyama and a very close loss to Wanderlei Silva – which I think to this day I just about won - I was hoping to have earned myself a bigger name opponent again. But I have never, ever turned down an opponent offered me by the UFC. I don’t do that and I don’t expect special credit for being like that. I’m a UFC fighter and I fight whoever they want me to fight. So, Rivera it is. I feel like even if I win, I don’t move forward, but I plan of smashing him and making as big a statement as I can.”

THE FIVE YEAR REPORT (2011)
“I’ve been in the UFC for five years now. A lot of good fighters don’t last that long. And I’ve had to go from pretty much a UK-level striker to a well-rounded fighter while competing in the UFC. A lot of TUF winners have struggled in the UFC. Compare their records to mine and you’ll see while I’ve not achieved all I want to in my career, I’m not doing badly overall.”

PROMOTING THE SPORT (2011)
“I must have given a thousand interviews since joining the UFC. I consider it a privilege to be asked, and to be asked to represent the UFC and the sport by talking to the media on their behalf. There are fighters who try and mess the UFC around and not do PR stuff, but it is part of the job. It’s actually in the contract that you do this stuff, and really, why wouldn’t you want to promote the sport we all make a living out of?”

FIGHTING ANGRY (2011)
“In my opinion, I think I fight better when I’m - for want of a better word - pissed off. So for me, that does help. I’m emotional in and out of the ring, and before and after a fight I’m emotional, but generally when I’m fighting, I’m very, very focused and I’m focusing on what needs to be done as opposed to doing anything silly because of letting my emotions get the better of me.”

THE MMA POPULARITY CONTEST (2011)
“If you go on the internet and believe everything that’s said there, I’m not too popular. But in my experience in day to day life, people are very, very kind to me. I live out here in California now, and people always have nice things to say. Obviously when they’ve got a keyboard to hide behind, they say something differently. When it comes to some of the hardcore fans and the guys who do talk about me, I think they see some of my antics and they do look past my skills. If you go on the Underground (forum) and look at the things they say, you’d think I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag, but I lost a split decision to Rashad Evans, I got robbed of a decision against Wanderlei (Silva), and I got knocked out against Dan Henderson. Against Dan Henderson, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned a lot from that fight and I realized a lot of the mistakes I was making. The other two fights were razor-thin. Other than that, I’ve stopped most of my guys, I have something like a 70% stoppage rate, contrary to the idea that everybody has that I can’t punch as well. So I think that (his antics) does overshadow it sometimes, but that is the situation.”

THE RIDE OF HIS LIFE (2011)
“It’s been the best ride of my life. I remember (UFC President) Dana White saying some things when we came off The Ultimate Fighter and it’s fully lived up to everything he’s said and far exceeded it. Being part of the UFC family, I’m so proud and so happy with my life. I’m a lucky man. I get paid well, but I truly love my job. I love being a part of the UFC, I love being a professional fighter, and I love the rewards that it gives to me and my family. So it’s unbelievable.”

Watch Past Fights

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