The Bisping Blueprint is rather simple.
Michael Bisping, the reigning UFC middleweight champion, will command most of the pre-fight hype with outrageous insults and headline-grabbing sound bites. Give the man from Manchester, England, enough time near a recording device and he’ll clear the Empire State Building with over-the-top comments.
Then, come fight night, such as this Saturday at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden, he’ll show up and fight admirably, then compliment the fighter he had spent the past several weeks hammering in the media. That’s part of why he’s been around so long, with a UFC- record 19 wins. He can talk, he can fight, and he can talk about his fighting and yours.
Thursday’s news conference was no different as he faced the media for another round of promoting his UFC 217 main event against former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
“You been lifting weights again? Drinking your protein shakes?” Bisping said to St-Pierre. “Hey, you got a new suit again. Good for you, bro.”
Bisping wasn’t near done. That was basically a soft jab, a throw-away strike to set up something bigger later.
“Ooooh, you mean, like he might stand southpaw?” Bisping said when asked if St-Pierre might have a different game plan than what he expects. “That’s his big surprise? Or like he’s gonna go for leg locks? . . . Do whatever you want. Bring the best version to the table. I’m going to wipe him out, simple.”
And this one: “Georges is a very good wrestler. But you know what the best takedown in the game is? A left hook. That’s what I won this [expletive] belt and that’s how I’m going to keep hold of this belt.”
And of course, this one: “My only fear is getting cuddled to death on Saturday night.”
St-Pierre did what he usually does: Sit there politely and impeccably dressed and go along as the muse with a big smile and a good nature. English is not the French-Canadian’s first language. Nor is verbally diving into the dumpster to insult an opponent. The jab is his thing, not the gab.
“He’s got a big mouth and he gets into an argument with everybody because of the nature of who he is, of how he is,” said St-Pierre, the former welterweight champion returning after four years away. “If he wants to waste his energy like this, that’s all good. I’ve got one goal in mind and that’s it.”
Bombast and boasts aside, Bisping (31-7) has put together an impressive run during the past two-plus years. During his five-fight winning streak, Bisping has beaten a pair of MMA legends in Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson, sandwiched in between knocking out Luke Rockhold for the title.
“I’ve beaten all the greats,” Bisping said. “I’m gonna beat this guy. Georges is one of the greats. I’m gonna wipe him out. Saturday night, I’m going to destroy him.”
St-Pierre (25-2), once the biggest pay-per-view draw for the promotion, could become the fourth fighter in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes.
“The only thing Bisping will do well for this fight, it will be to make fire for the promotion,” St-Pierre said. “There is nothing good from him that will come in the fight.”