UFC Fight Night 55 – Rockhold vs Bisping takes place this weekend in Sydney, Australia and is headlined by the culmination of a bitter, two-year feud between top 10 ranked middleweight contenders Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping. A lightweight bout between Ross Pearson and Al Iaquinta will serve as the co-main event. The entire card is available live and on-demand on UFCFIGHTPASS.com, the UFC’s digital streaming service.
Here is the complete transcript from the heated conference call between the two headlining fighters, along with the conference call audio.
Operator: Please stand-by. Good day and welcome to the UFCFIGHPASS.com Rockhold vs Bisping conference call. Today’s conference is being recorded. At this time I would like to turn the conference over to Tom Wright, Managing Director UFC Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Please go ahead, Sir.
Tom Wright: Thank you to everyone who’s joined us today ahead of our big UFC Fight Night, Fight Pass Event in Sydney, Australia next week, actually on November 8.
We’re really, really excited about this card at the Allphones Arena. We’ve got some great fights lined up between a great mix of local talent, UFC veterans and of course the hotly anticipated main event five rounds between the bitter rivals and middleweight contenders, Number 5, Luke Rockhold and Number 9, Michael Bisping.
Both Mike and Luke are on the line and will be taking your questions shortly but before we do that, let me just take care of a couple of housekeeping issues, please and thanks.
First of all, we have a limited amount of tickets still available for this event and those tickets are available at ticketek.com.au. This event is going to be streamlined exclusively live in most parts of the world on UFCFIGHTPASS.com, the UFC’s digital streaming service.
I’d also like to remind everyone on the call that while the event takes place on Saturday, November 8 in Sydney, time zones being what they are, the event will be live prime time in North America Friday night for UFC FIGHT PASS subscribers in North America.
The main card will actually start in Sydney at 2 pm on Saturday afternoon the 8th, but it will be live on 10 pm eastern on Friday night, 7 pm Pacific on Friday night November 7 on UFC FIGHT PASS.
I’d also like to remind everyone before we start the call, we’ve got a great night of exclusive live fights on UFCfightpass.com this Saturday, November 1 with the entire FC 9 card headlined by Barb Honchak and Takayo Hashi.
So with that said, I’m going to open up to the media for questions and I’ll turn it back to you (Vicky) to moderate please.
Operator: Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please signal by pressing star 1 on your telephone keypad. If you’re using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow our signal to reach your equipment. Again, press star 1 to ask a question.
We will pause just a moment to allow everyone the opportunity to signal for questions. We’ll go first to Jeffrey Harris with 411 Mania MMA
Jeffrey Harris: Hello. Thank you all for joining us all today. This question is for Michael. Michael, throughout your career, you’ve had numerous opponents who’ve had performance enhancing drug test issues who have failed tests and this includes guys who have wins over you, guys you’ve beaten and now Cung Le who recently had his drug test suspended because of the manner, the way the drug tests were held.
Do you believe that exonerates him or do believe he’s still guilty?
Michael Bisping: I mean to be honest, I don’t get involved in the processes, my job it to fight. I believe there’s no smoke without fire, though, and because of certain technicalities or loopholes, he was exonerated, or the suspension was rescinded.
But as I said, I don’t get involved in these matters. My job, what I’m paid to do, is to step into the Octagon and fight. I’ll let the UFC take care of the bureaucracy.
Jeffrey Harris: Now for Luke, you’re currently ranked Number 5 in the Middleweight Division. A guy ranked ahead of you Jacare Souza is a guy you have a win over. Do you believe you’re taking a big risk here for fighting Bisping instead of going for like, for a rematch against Jacare?
Luke Rockhold: You know, I don’t believe I’m taking a risk. It’s not a good fight for me, not a, you know, chance to showcase my skillset and where I’ve improved and what I’ve done. I already have a win over Jacare. I beat him so I don’t understand exactly how the rankings work but, you know, I’m just going to look to, you know, showcase my skills in this fight.
You know, I’m very happy about fighting Michael. You know, I’m going to go in and perform.
Jeffrey Harris: You’ve been challenging Michael to a fight for quite some time. Is the reason you’re going after him, is it because of that remark he made about, “I beat you in training camp so I have an unofficial win over the Strikeforce middle weight champion making me the linear champion”?
Luke Rockhold: It definitely is a bonus to shut his mouth and set the record straight on that note. He’s just a guy I really haven’t respected along the way. He carries himself around the sport and, you know, I’ve been around for a while and I just, I hear a lot of things and I see a lot of things, And, you know, I really, I really don’t care for the guy and I’m looking forward to setting him up, myself among other people.
Operator: We’ll go next to Heidi Fang with MMA Fight Corner.
Heidi Fang: Hello. My first question is just a follow-up on that. What is it about Michael Bisping that you don’t respect?
Luke Rockhold: He just seems to not be a nice genuine guy to most people. I mean he only like carries himself to, you know, is nice to people, seems to further himself and people are going to help him. I,really heard a lot of things about him, not being nice to the average Joe, really.
I mean, you know, you’ve got to treat people the way you want to be treated and, you know, it seems like he’s a prick everywhere in life so I want to know what he’s not happy about. But, you know, I’m looking forward to making everybody else happy.
Heidi Fang: It seems that you’re going…
Michael Bisping: Well allow me to shed some light on that situation because, Luke, I’m not sure if he’s aware of this; this is a f**king conference call so you’re supposed to talk and be a little bit eloquent and get your side of the story over.
Luke, I don’t know you. I don’t care for you. We haven’t shared a single proper conversation so you’re basing your facts or what you presume is facts on absolutely nothing, on fresh air.
We have had one conversation, after the sparring matching question everybody talks about. You don’t know me. You don’t know me as a person. So kiss my f**king ass, you lanky piece of shit. I’ll see you in Australia, you asshole. We’ll put it all to bed then.
Luke Rockhold: Great professionalism…
Heidi Fang: To both of you to follow up on that, you seem to both be going in with high emotions into this fight. Do you feel that’s risky to go into a fight with these types of emotions, I suppose. Rockhold first.
Luke Rockhold: As you can see, the way I’ve carried myself in our conversation and, you know, face-to-face, I’m not really too emotional. If you want to see emotional go back and watch my Belfort lead-up. In the fight I was pissed. I was emotional. You could see it in my eyes and, you know, I’m very comfortable and relaxed.
And that’s never going to happen again. I’m never going to let emotions get the better of me. I’ve done my work. I’ve worked my ass off in training camp. Worked with some of the best guys in the world and I’ve prepared, I’m better than I’ve ever been. I’m going to go out there and do my job.
Heidi Fang: And for Michael, you seemed very upset there with Luke, had some choice words for him there.
Michael Bisping: No, no, I’m not upset for him. I’m not upset by any of his remarks. Anything that Luke Rockhold said doesn’t really register with me, to be honest. You know, the guy’s just trying to jump on a bandwagon. (does impression of Rockhold) “I’m doing this for the sake of everybody. He’s such an asshole. No one likes him.”
Nobody has any right to pass an opinion on anything because when I’m outside of the office and I’m home with my wife and kids I’m a different guy. So don’t know where he’s basing this whole bad guy image on.
Regarding emotions; not at all. I’m going down there to take care of business. Luke Rockhold is not somebody that I obsess about. He’s not somebody that I care about. He’s not somebody that I wake up in the morning and think about.
I’m here to do my job, to put on an outstanding fight for the fans and I’ve done that throughout my entire career and this will be another occasion where I will do that. I’m going down to Sydney to take care of business. Yes, of course I get to shut this guy up in the process, so that’s obviously is a bonus but, you know, as I say, I’m all business. I’m going to go down there, put on a great fight, give everybody what they want to see and, you know, I’ll get to show him up in the process so that’s a plus.
Operator: We’ll go next to Dave Melzer with Wrestling Observer.
Dave Melzer: Yes, this is, I guess, mainly for Luke because actually I’ve talked to Michael about this before. Which, what is your side or recollection about what happened in China, I think it was the night after the Cung fight with Michael and I guess you were, I don’t know if it was the coffee shop or it was at breakfast or something.
Luke Rockhold: Yes.
Dave Melzer: I mean how do you remember that incident?
Luke Rockhold: Well, the morning after the fight everyone’s packing up, getting ready to go. I had my bags and there’s a little coffee shop on the way out from the elevators. I walked down to get some coffee and it’s kind of an isolated little zone and I was trying to get a cup of coffee and I look over and of course Michael’s sitting right there with his dad and his little friend.
So I’m trying to get this coffee and the little guy (Mick) is just staring at me and just like blabbing, like just running his mouth, just, you know, just trying to egg me on. And I’m just sitting there. I’m like trying to ignore the little guy and it’s completely unavoidable.
I had to get my coffee, walk right by them as this little guy’s just staring at me and like trying to talk to me and like I had no choice but to butt in. So I basically, just like I said, I don’t lie. I don’t embellish how I do things. I turned. I put my hand in him, straight. I stood right in the middle of their conversation and said gentlemen, bet, you know, I was like I said if I don’t finish in the first round, you get half my purse.
And then he was like, and then he immediately went on the backtrack saying, well, well, well, well, look here. I make this much and I was trying to throw off and I was like I don’t care, you want $100,000 on top of your paycheck, all you have to do is get out of the first round?
From then on he blew it all out of proportion, jumped up in my face and say oh, I’m disrespectful. Tried to turn it into a very disrespectful thing and then I, of course, stood my ground and sat back at him but, you know, it was very, you know, I put my hand out, gentlemen’s bet, that’s how I offered it. I didn’t get crazy. The little guy was on my case and it was an unavoidable situation.
Michael Bisping: All right and allow me to clarify through all that the bullshit. So he does admit that he walked off and challenged me to a bet when I was with my father. The guy that he’s talking about in question – Mick – doesn’t say two words to anyone. He’s one of the quietest human beings you will ever see. So he was – that you were going to ever meet and he said that this guy was staring at him, talking shit.
Luke, you’re an absolute liar. You’re an absolute liar. Nobody was looking at you. You came over. You interrupted. You showed a lack of class and I’ll punish you for it next week.
Luke Rockhold: No, you won’t and the fact of the matter is I’m sitting there, if they can release my commentary on the fight, I’m sitting there commentating on his fight with Cung Le, on the fight past commentary that they haven’t released yet but the little guy, he’s constantly running over to me and slapping on my back saying “You’re next. You’re next.”
And his dad even gets on the cat walk around the Octagon and points to me and says you’re next. And they’re just like he’s going to beat your ass and like, I’m not joking when I say this. This was a couple of days prior to the event.
Dave Melzer:: So, no, did you have like incidents? Was it with them or with Michael before the event in China as well?
Luke Rockhold: No I didn’t see Michael before. It was just, I was in passing with those guys and, you know, I was – they were bringing me in the back (at a pre-fight PR event) and I had to wait, I think I had to wait for this guy to pass. That’s like how it kind of began and I was waiting for Michael and Cung to walk by the red carpet and I was like, they were like – they were trying to get me behind the fence and I was like wait, wait for this asshole to pass.
And then his dad and the little guy overheard me say it and then from then on they were like his little fucking spokespeople, saying “Mike is going to beat your ass.” And then they just kept egging it on and coming after me because they overheard me say that.
Dave Melzer: You mentioned earlier in the call something about like you kind of think that you made some mistakes as far as it’s mental before the Belfort fight. Is there anything that, exactly what that means? I mean as far as did you just get too hung up on certain things or what’s kind of like when you look back at that in hindsight?
Luke Rockland: It was fighting Belfort in Brazil, my debut and there were a lot of things, you know, I just took personally. I took a lot on my shoulders. You know, I wanted to beat him for myself and for a lot of reasons that are obvious.
You know, definitely it was an emotional time and then, you know, the Brazilian crowd is very passionate and everyone gets on their back in between and, you know, and the whole build-up. So it’s, you know, I – just the whole circumstance, fighting Belfort too. His history with everything and who he was, you know, he’s one of the best fighters so there was a lot on the line there. And, you know, it’s helped me release. You know, I wasn’t – the funny thing is I wasn’t really sure of how good I was as a striker. You know, I knew I was good but how was I going to combat with one of the best strikers of all time in there?
Michael Bisping: Well you didn’t combat very well because you got knocked out in the first round.
Luke Rockhold: Yes, you got knocked out, too, so…
Michael Bisping: It wasn’t the first round though, was it? You shot straightaway and then got knocked out, great fight, good job. And the whole year you’re blaming it on the pressure. All right.
Luke Rockhold: You got your ass kicked the whole time.
Michael Bisping: All right buddy.
Michael Bisping: (Pretends to cry) Boo hoo my little friend was picking on you. God bless.
Luke Rockhold: This is Michael Bisping at his finest. If you are going to build up a fight, build up a fight but your true colors show after the fight. And we all know you like to spit on people after a fight so I mean…
Michael Bisping: Oh great. Yes, all right, anything else you want to drag up from history?
Luke Rockhold: That is what you are, your true colors show after the fight and that’s you.
Michael Bisping: All right. Okay.
Operator: Well go next to Brett Okamoto with ESPN.
Brett Okamoto: Hey thanks guys. Dave kind of stole my thunder there. He basically asked Luke the same question I was going to ask him but I guess, Luke, you know, sort of talking about things you’ve talked about before. You said that this fight is very different than Vitor. Do you think that that’s just because you’ve learned how to deal with it better or is it just because there’s rivalry. It’s just so different than the one, than the one you had with Vitor, your first fight.
Luke Rockhold: It’s different, you know, in a lot of ways. I’ve gained a lot more confident for myself as a striker and just letting, letting things be, letting it go, just letting me fight my fight. Like taking a loss like that (vs Belfort) is a humbling experience and there’s really not much further down to go than that. So I learned to just go in there and let it all hang out. Whatever happens, happens.
I learned to relax and to realize “I am better than you guys.” Just fight, enjoy the process and fight.
You know, I just don’t think Vitor was that good. I got caught with a wild kick and now everyone is starting to see things and I know that I’m one of the best strikers in the world now and you’re going to see that in this fight. I’m going to completely outclass Michael in the feet and everywhere.
Brett Okamoto: When you talk about that pressure, how do you think it translated to the fight though? I mean did you just freeze up? Were you like just in a range that you never meant to be in? I mean how did it actually affect what you did in the cage?
Luke Rockhold: If you’ve seen me in the cage I was nervous, you know, about his speed and his striking and then just emotionally invested. I was staring at him across the cage, mean mugging him the whole time.
And just like, you know, it’s a crazy experience being out there in Brazil and, you know, fighting him and I was just psyching myself up in the wrong way rather than being, than just relaxing and seeing things. I was just, you know, my eyes were just pure red and, you know, I was just coming after him. I like went crazy man when I should have just relaxed and saw everything coming and you know.
It kind of just clouds your vision when you act like that and you know, the realization that I really gained, you know, in sparring too when I would get ticked and aggressive brought out the worst in me. You know, and then I started to relax. I had some crazy guys in sparring that now I learned how when I relax and I wait, I wait, you know, I’m a lot more dangerous and a lot more precise.
You know, I’m between that training after the fight and that fight is a lot of, you know, it’s a lot to look back on and think about, reflect.
Brett Okamoto: So during this whole build-up with Mike have you, have you felt yourself get angry at all or is that something that just doesn’t happen anymore? Is it still something that you have to work on when you’ve got a guy who’s talking to you during the build-up to the fight?
Luke Rockhold: No, I, you know, I’ve been through that before and I’ve balanced myself. It’s not going to get to me and, you know, I know how to carry myself. And, yes, it’s completely different. I don’t feel, you know, like I did with Vitor. I was actually a little emotionally pissed and now I’m just, you know, it’s confidence. It has a lot to do with relaxation and I’m very confident. I’m going to go up there and do my job.
Brett Okamoto: Okay, thanks. Good luck to both of you.
Operator: We’ll go next to Steven Morocco with USA Today.
Steven Morocco: Kind of a follow-up question for Luke. I mean has it been worth all the added questions and added attention and all this bickering back and forth? Has it been worth it to call out Mike and get this fight?
Luck Rockland: Has it been worth to call him out?
Steven Morocco: To call him out, all the added questions, the added attention, having to be in the same room with him, all these things that, you know, I understand when you have a different relationship to them now but, you know, I was wondering if it, if any of this has been burdensome at all? You know, all this added attention and has it been worth it?
Luke Rockland: Yes, it’s a fight. It’s a fight. People love, you know, all the talk. People love a feud, a genuine feud and just this is what they’re getting. You know, I don’t like the guy and, you know, I’m the worst in my opinion and I’m going to, I’m going to settle the fight.
And I’m a competitive person, whether we’re talking, whether we’re fighting and I’m not going to, I’m not going to lose it all to this guy, you now. I’m excited. I’m selling the fight. He’s selling the fight and it’s going to be even more – I mean the pre-fight hype is nothing compared to what you’re going to see from November 8, or November 7 here in the USA
Steven Morocco: And you think you’ve got the better of him?
Luke Rockhold: I don’t like to say that because it ((inaudible)) in the (seventh tier). It’s like going back to ((inaudible)) on that one and ((inaudible)).
Steven Morocco: Yes. Well the next question’s for both of you. Do you think you guys have done a good job selling the fight relative to some other first matches? We’ve seen you know, upcoming (Jones vs DC). Also Mendez, these guys just keep going.
Luke Rockhold: I mean no one can compare to a Jones and DC but I think we’re doing all right.
Steven Morocco: Mike?
Michael Bisping: You know, for me it’s not a case of trying to outdo the Jones vs DC thing, or this and that. Obviously this is an intriguing middleweight match-up. And it kind of sells itself. I mean, as Luke has told everybody, he doesn’t like me so of course he’s not at the top of my Christmas card list. So there’s certainly no love lost between us and we’re both too highly skilled individuals that bring it. Luke, for all the disdain that he feels towards me, is a good fighter and he does fight well. But so do I.
So where that has all the ingredients for, highly watchable fight. So that kind of sells itself and of course, there’s all the bad blood going into it as well. I’ve just been myself as usual. I wouldn’t compare anything this year to Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, I mean that’s the best pre-fight hype ever. That said, me and Rockhold have a week left and you never know what will happen at the press conference.
Steven Morocco: And just one more. I’m wondering what you’re respective understandings are of the middleweight pecking order right now. Like where do you guys see yourself in the division? What’s this fight for? Go first, Mike.
Michael Bisping: Well obviously you’ve got Belfort vs Weidman settling things in February I believe. Luke, since coming to the UFC, or in his last two fights, has people talking about him possibly being the next contender.
For myself, it’s just one fight at a time. If I beat Luke, when I beat Luke, I think that puts me in a very, very good position. Of course there is some of the good talent out there that’s making a case for it.
Machida’s always a perennial contender but he just had his shot so you can kind of take him out of it for the immediate future, I think. There’s Jacare but I’m not sure if the UFC is too excited about that.
So who knows? Of course, I’ll give a good performance against Rockland. I believe it puts me right in the mix. Does it guarantee a title shot? No, not necessarily but as I said, I believe it puts me right in the mix.
Luke Rockhold: Yes, he said it pretty well. For me, on my end,, I got to go out there and win. I’ve got to win impressively to really step my game up and separate me as the number one contender and that’s what I plan on doing.
I can’t just squeeze a win out. I’ve got to go perform and that’s what I do. It’s about being the best fighter in the world to me and I train every day to be that guy. And that’s what I’m going to do, perform and show I am No.1.
Operator: Once again, that is star 1 on your telephone keypad to ask a question or a follow-up question. We’ll go next to Damon Martin with Fox Sports.
Damon Martin: Yes, my first question is to Mike. Mike I talked to you a couple of days ago and I know you said openly about the whole comment you made back in the day that started this whole thing, that unofficial Strikeforce Champion .
You know, you were kind of making a joke and you apologized to Luke but looking back on the whole thing, do you regret, you know, actually saying that comment or seeing where you’re at now with this big fight main event, you know, one of the biggest fights of the middleweight division.
I mean do you really regret actually making that comment?
Michael Bisping: You can’t go around your life, living your life regretting everything, every comment that you make. I made a light-hearted remark and it was a joke and I’d say if you have a sense of humor you maybe would have gotten that joke because I thought it was a pretty good line “I’m the unofficial Strikeforce champion.”
Listen, a sparring match has no bearing on what’s going to happen in a fight. Of course we’ve all heard Luke’s multitude of reasons why he didn’t perform that day and he’s probably right. Listen, sparring has no reflection on a fight. It was just a light-hearted remark. Was it a little bit vicious? Well I suppose it was, you know, and that’s why I instantly apologized.
You know, I’ve been known throughout my tenure as a fighter to say things sometimes and, you know, it certainly wasn’t designed to be disrespectful or harmful.
But I guess, you know, it kind of came off that way. So as I said, that’s why I did apologize. Do I regret it? No, I don’t regret it. I certainly got a good laugh out of it at the time and here we are, you know, we’re both going to get paid well out of it next week.
And we probably would have been matched regardless of whether or not I said that but it certainly helped throw some fuel on the fire for this fight, definitely.
Steven Morocco: And Luke had said earlier today and I’ll follow-up with Luke in a second. But he has said earlier today in an interview that he doesn’t believe that you’re a real fighter, that you actually enjoy fighting. Now I don’t know if you heard that comment or I’ll just kind of tell you right there, you know, the he doesn’t believe that you enjoy fighting and you’re not a real fighter. Your response>
Luke Rockhold: Let’s retract that. I didn’t say he wasn’t a real, I didn’t say he wasn’t a real fighter. I said he doesn’t enjoy fighting.
Steve Morocco: Enjoy fighting, excuse me.
Luke Rockhold: I enjoy the process. I have a good time in there. He just seems like he’s building himself up. He’s very good at psyching himself up. He slaps himself and he doesn’t really seem like he relaxes and he keeps it, you know, a little tense in the fight and he never, really likes it.
Like I’m smiling and I really enjoy fighting when I’m actually in the cage. I don’t necessarily like the build-up but when I’m in the cage and they shut that door that’s fun tomes, I mean that’s good times.
So I just don’t, I don’ see it any way. I analyze fighters from every bit of them, from how they fight. I do my homework and I just haven’t seen any bitterness. It seems like he’ll fight to the bitter end but I just don’t think he really enjoys fighting.
Michael Bisping: Okay, well it’s clearly obvious that if you’ve been analyzing me, you clearly don’t have a psychology degree so quit that amateur philosophy there because listen, I love (talking) with you. I’m (talking) with you right now.
I love fighting. I truly love it. That’s why I do it. Nobody puts a gun to my head and makes me fight. I don’t do it out of necessity. I don’t do it because I have to do it for the money or anything like that. I truly love doing it.
I’ve done it since I was 8 years old. Eight years-old I first walked into a gym and at the end of it we put the gloves on and we started boxing and that’s what really set my imagination on fire and kept me walking into the gym every single time.
And that’s why I always turn up in great shape for my fights, because I love to spar. Sparring is my favorite part of it. You now, and I never shy away from any challenges. I love fighting. I feel alive when I do it. It puts a smile on my face and I was put on this planet to be a fighter.
So, you know, the guys grabbing at straws at best at that comment.
Steven Morocco: Thank you very much guys.
Operator: We’ll go next to Adam Ireland with MMA Canvass.
Adam Ireland: Hi guys. Adam Ireland. Mike a quick question for you top start. Will you be training with Jamie Ta Huna. I know you’ve trained with him in the past.
Michael Bisping: Yes, no that’s right. I have a trainer out there in Penrith those guys before but no on this occasion I won’t be. I’m coming in a little bit late than what happened in the past and the last two times I fought in Australia, I was living in the UK so as you guys know, there’s a massive time difference and a full 24 hours of travelling so where we typically came out a few weeks before.
This time I’m coming out eight days before, you know, so and the time difference, while there is a pretty different time difference it’s not as extreme as it is between the UK and Australia.
So yes, all the training will be done and when I get out there it will just be staying sharp, staying fresh, shadow-boxing, things like that. So I won’t be heading out to (Penrith) working out with those guys.
Adam Ireland: Right Mike, cool and a question for both of you. The main event is roughly, it’s the USA versus UK battle and in Australia, I’m interested to know from both of your perspectives who had the home field advantage do you think?
Michael Bisping: Okay, it is kind of a difficult one, you know, because you guys, you’re a member of the Commonwealth but you don’t like to like it. (The English and Australians) we’re such great sporting rivals.
The first time I fought down there I was expecting a cheer but I got booed quite heavily. On my return in the next one you guys kind of came on board a little bit and I kind of got cheered.
On this one I kind of get the feeling I’m going to get cheered. Hopefully I’m going to have the home field advantage but ultimately when you’re fighting, when you’re in the octagon, you know, it’s just you and your opponent and once that door is shut and the referee says fight, it doesn’t really matter.
Of course, it’s nice to always get the adulation of the crowd but it’s not essential in winning or losing a fight. Regarding the co-main event, again that’s a fantastic match-up, two great strikers of course. I’m a big fan of Ross Pierson. I love the way he fights. He always brings it every time so whilst me and look are going to deliver it in the main event, the co-main event is not to be slapped on either.
That’s a fantastic match-up for Ross Pearson to bring out the best in both fighters. You’re going to see a lot of boxing, a lot of body shots from both of those guys so yes, and he’s a great fighter from top to bottom as well.
But home field advantage, I’m going to go out on limb here and say I’ll probably got that. Is it important, no it’s not.
Adam Ireland: And Luke, what are your thoughts?
Luke Rockhold: I’m going to bring everyone to my side after the fight and that’s all that really matters. You know, I’m sure I’ll have some good support out there and probably have some haters as far as that goes but, you know, I’m going to make a lot of fans out there after this fight and that’s all that matters.
Adam Ireland: Okay and my final question is I’m just not sure if you guys are aware that recently there’s been a lot of media attention and strategy on martial arts specifically. Now we’ve got an election coming out and it’s actually dominated a lot of headlines. You know, we’re about 10 years behind say, in terms of the perception of the sport. So this fight comes at a really important time.
Luke you first. I’m just interested to know if you know what’s happening in regards to the sport in Australia?
Luke Rockhold: Yes, it’s a very unfortunate situation. I mean it’s going to be a lot more dangerous fighting inside a ring. You know a lot of bad things can happen. And the perception of the cage being what they believe it is, is definitely far from true.
It’s very false and, you know, it’s a hard job to go out there and carry yourself, carry ourselves like professionals inside the cage and, you know, show them that, you know, that this is a sport and you need to be treated, you know, and carry ourselves like professionals. You know, it’s going to be a very professional, clean fight and, you know, hopefully we can help build MA and get it legalized and have an event there.
Adam Ireland: Then what do you think Michael?
Michael Bisping: Yes, yes, it’s all about education. It’s all about educating those people that have a negative view about it. Of course, you know, from the outside, if you don’t know the fights and you’re a little bit ignorant about the sport, then certainly there’s always going to be negative connotations that you could attach to it.
You could say, you know, this is, you know, a fight with small gloves and you’re laughing and you hit them when they’re on the floor, the fight’s in a cage. And when you look at these things, you know, it’s easy to build a negative, a negative image surround the sport.
But it’s, you expose these people to it. They learn a little bit about it. They learn the safety records. They understand why we implement an octagon as opposed to a boxing ring. Then , you know, you look at it much more favorable.
And I think that it’s these people that are game for it. They come out to the fight next week and, you know, they’ll see highly trained individuals. They will see a highly well run, the best sporting organization in the world running the best sporting event and the level of professionalism is absolutely through the roof. And as we said, it has a fantastic safety record.
So it’s all about education and exposing these people to it. I mean, invite them to come out and watch the fight, see what they do and I’m sure they’ll have a great evening and they will forget all the, you know, the judgments that they had before.
Tom Wright: Just to echo what Michael and Luke have said, I think they both expressed themselves extremely well. The truth of the matter is that we do have an opportunity, literally three weeks before the election in Victoria, you know, to demonstrate in the state right next door to Victoria, obviously in New South Wales where Sydney is too, to be able to demonstrate the professionalism, the focus on fighter safety and the fact that there isn’t a better organization in the world to put on our event than the UFC.
And that we take our sport very, very seriously. We also want to make sure it’s a fair fight which, of course, the octagon is a level playing field as you well know as opposed to a boxing ring which is not neutral. And I think this is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate that and to have an opportunity to speak to the educational points that Michael mentioned and to demonstrate the professionalism that Luke speaks to.
So we’re very much looking forward to, there’s a whole fight week of events that are scheduled for Sydney when we are there next week and that provides us with many opportunities to demonstrate just how short-sighted and the positions that have been taken by those uneducated individuals in Victoria.
Adam Ireland: Thanks Tom. Thanks all. I’ll catch up with you next week.
Operator: We’ll go next to Alex Schlinsky with MMA Mania.
Alex Schlinsky: Hey guys, how are you doing? Thank you very much. I just wanted to know, Michael Bisping, you’ve been so close to the top multiple time and yet you’ve never reached that apex, you’ve never gotten to that title fight. Do you think that maybe the psychology going in and maybe getting him, you know riled up beforehand is going to help you to get to a title fight by making this a bigger fight than it is?
Michael Bisping: That’s a good question., I mean only Luke can really answer that. You know, I’m focusing on what I do and perhaps in the past that’s been my downfall, focusing on my opponent too much, thinking too much about them, obsessing over them, thinking about how they’re going to approach the fight.
I’m too long in the tooth to do that these days. I’m too experienced. I just focus on what I need to do. Certainly one area that I’ve made leaps and bounds in is the mental preparation. You know, obviously this is a very physical sport but it’s hugely, there’s a huge psychological and mental aspect to it and I’ve really made gains with that over the last couple of years.
Certainly the last 12 months, I’m understanding a lot of things, but I am a lot better at them now. So, yes, you know, I’ve got to the top of the sport and then I fell short but I think the fact that I’ve been there so many times is a testament to my fighting ability and my character, my will to win which says a lot for a guy that apparently doesn’t like to fight.
I’ve been there several times. Most people only get there once. I’ve dusted myself off. I’ve come back a better fighter. I’ve truly learned from all my losses and I’m still as hungry as the first day that I ever put a pair of gloves on. I still want to be World Champion. I know I can do it. I’m physically in my prime and I’m mentally better than ever.
It’s all to play for and I still dream of being world champion and that will start next weekend, you know. I’m one of the top guys. I’ve been here for a long time but I’m not going anywhere yet.
Alex Schlinsky: Awesome. I wanted to know both your reactions to when you heard (Chris Wright) was injured and the middleweight title fight was once again postponed because we know ((inaudible)) said he wanted an interim title fight. You know that we got Jacare and (Merrill) potentially fighting. You too are fighting net week.
You know, there’s kind of a log at the middleweight division. When you see that, you know, the champion’s injured, is that frustrating to you guys?
Luke Rockhold: I mean it is what it is. Weidman’s spot, you know, he’s had a couple of fights in pretty close proximity, not too bad but it’s a small delay in the big scheme of things and, you know, a lot of champions have been out a lot longer
So, you know, just, you know, someone needs to separate themselves, the lead contender, you know, number one contender and that’s all that’s all he’s doing, giving more time to one of us to separate themselves and that’s what I want to do, that’s what I’m here to do.
Michael Bisping: You know ultimately that’s the way the sport goes. You know, it’s an unforgiving sport inside the octagon on our side of the octagon and injuries are common. You know, at Luke said it was a minor setback. It’s going to delay it by a few months, yes, but in the overall scheme of things, it isn’t really going to matter.
Vitor is the number one contender. You know, what were my feelings when he got put back? My feelings were this. My feelings were that that is a huge, it’s a huge benefit for (Chris Weidman) simply because Vitor was on extra testosterone therapy for a long time and that take an impact on your body and the amount of muscle mass that you carry.
And the longer you are off the extra testosterone that you were prescribed to take by a doctor, we shall say, of course the longer you’re off it , the more physical changes your body will make.
So I’m sure there’s going to be, I’m not sure when Vitor’s last fight was but we could be talking over a year where he hasn’t been on, you know, the prescriptions that he was on before. So I think the longer it goes until that fire happens, the more benefit (Chris Weidman) has because he’s going to be weaker, stronger, not as strong, things like that.
So that was my initial thought.
Alex Schlinsly: Luke, we spoke earlier that you said that you’ve beaten Jacare before and yet he’s still ranked higher than you because you haven’t had the shot from UFC yet. Do you think with the dominant win over Jacare this week you are able to, you know, leap frog him through all the ranks. If you do get a finish you can get past him?
Luke Rockhold: I don’t know man. I have no idea how they make ranking guidelines are, if there are other guidelines. Jacare jumped me beating, I believe Chris Comozi and I lost to Vito Belfort so I mean that should give you some perspective on how they work things, you know. That’s when he jumped me in the rankings, I believe.
So I’m just going to fight my fight and I’m going to show, you know, what I do and, you know, hopefully it gets respected and acknowledged.
Alex Schlinsky: Thank you guys for your time.
Operator: Well go next to (Casper Rosolowsky) with Submission Radio.
Casper Rosolowsky: Hi guys. My question’s for Michael. Michael in respect to Sydney last, you told us you believe that Luke will probably take the fight to the ground. I’m just wondering, coming into the fight being about a week away, is that something you still believe?
Michael Bisping: Yes, 100%.. I think that once he steps in there with me he’ll realize that it’s now as easy as what he’s forecasting it to be. You know, and this is mixed martial arts. It’s not a kick boxing or a boxing match so there’s other facets to the game of course and I think you will, I think he’ll shoot, I think he’s looking at the fight with Tim Kennedy I lost and how he was able to tear me town, hold me down.
I think he’s underestimating my wrestling and my takedown defense and he thinks he can expose in the coming week. Of course, I will prove otherwise on the night. You know, as I said, when the fight starts he’ll realize that he’s in, that, you know, that this isn’t the walk in the park that he thinks it’s going to be and then when it doesn’t go his way in defeat, I think he’ll shoot for a takedown
Casper Rosolowsky: Fantastic and I have a follow-up for Luke Rockhold. Look, you know, you discussed some areas of the fight there you’re very confident in. I’m just wondering what do you think your greatest strength or advantage over Michael will be, you know, come November 8 here in Sydney when you guys match up together?
Luke Rockhold: The difference between me and Michael, our fighting skills, is the same difference between our beards… I’m just more of a man than him.
Casper Rosolowsky: Great. Well thanks for that Luke.
Michael Bisping: Today you go, what a great insight there. He can grow slightly better facial hair so therefore he’s a better man and he’s going to win the fight. Good on you Luke. Well done. You’ve got more pubes on your face.
Luke Rockhold: I’m going to out strike him.
Michael Bisping: Oh here we go. An actual intelligent answer. Go ahead. The floor is yours.
Luke Rockhold: The thing is, when we were sparring, Michael was the one shooting. He wanted to wrestle. He couldn’t even spar me when I switched from southpaw…
Michael Bisping: Here comes the excuses again…
Luke Rockhold: I switched my stance but I am not taking anything away from him, he’s very good. He’s a good striker, he knows what he’s doing, he throws a lot of people off. He circles away well, he throws everyone off with movement. But he will know next week I am in a different level. I will lay some heavy kicks on him and, when he wakes up, he will have a rude awakening and realize there’s a big difference between him and me.