(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
But while the bulk of his attention has been focused on the fight, the outspoken Brit still has some time to fuel his war of words with another fighter on the card, flyweight Joseph Benavidez.
Speaking to Los Angeles-area reporters at Morton's the Steakhouse a day before flying out to Toronto for fight week, a laughing and dismissive Bisping took aim at Benavidez's recent claim that he can hit as hard as Bisping, saying "I'll [expletive] strangle him when I see him this time."
The trash talk started at last month's UFC 152 press conference in Toronto, when Bisping said that his bout against Stann should have been billed as the main event ahead of the Benavidez-Demetrious Johnson flyweight title bout. (The press conference was held before Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort was added to the card and made into the headline bout). Benavidez disagreed with the assessment.
"At the pre-fight press conference, you know, I had a line saying my fight was the real main event," Bisping said. "I wasn't talking [the flyweight] fight down, I was just bigging my fight up. They took it a little bit disrespectfully, so they took a couple swipes at me at the press conference. And it was all good fun."
That seemed to be the of end things until last week, when Benavidez said "I can definitely hit harder than Bisping" in an interview and the UFC re-tweeted the quote on its official Twitter account. At that point, Bisping felt compelled to respond, addressing both Benavidez and his Team Alpha Male campmate, Urijah Faber.
"They tweet out this video, and Urijah Faber, or ‘Urijah Favor' as I call him -- because I mean, really, how many title shots can one guy get? -- says to them, look at this, that's Bisping on [video]. Do you think you can hit harder than Bisping? Joseph Benavidez says, yeah, I definitely hit harder than Bisping.
"It really, I mean, he's the size of my leg. If you're going to talk [expletive] about me and the UFC is going to tweet it out, I'm going to address that. UFC has 776,000 followers, which I know because I looked it up. So I put, listen, Urijah Favor, Joseph Benavidez, and the rest of the munchkin crew, don't talk [expletive] just because you're stuck in the bodies of pre-pubescent boys."
The way things have escalated between the two camps, it's fair to say there won't be many pleasantries exchanged if and when they cross paths in Canada.
"Urijah said, ‘Mike, I thought we were friends, you can give it but you can't take it,'" Bisping said. "I said, what do you mean? You've been giving it, you said he can hit harder than me, which we all know you can't. So that's what's going on with Team Alpha Male." With a laugh, Bisping added "I'll [expletive] strangle him when I see him this time."
At that point, Bisping turned to the UFC official seated next to him and smiled. "Sorry, I don't think I should be talking [expletive] about the 125 pounders. It's going to be awesome."
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