BURBANK, Calif. -- Michael "The Count" Bisping thinks the Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar main event at UFC 153 makes sense on several levels. But he has no doubt about how the light heavyweight fight will play out.
Talking to a group of reporters at Morton's the Steakhouse one day before he flies to Toronto for his UFC 152 middleweight contenders' bout against Brian Stann, Bisping let it be known that he's with the masses who see Bonnar as a heavy underdog.
"Let's be honest, more than likely, Anderson Silva's going to decapitate him," Bisping said. "I don't think I'm saying anything too out there with that comment. Who knows? Stephan Bonnar is tough. He'll give it a go. He'll fight. I think Stephan Bonnar is going to do a better job than Forrest Griffin did."
Still, though, Bisping says he understands why the bout was made, coming as it did on the heels of the loss of both Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Frankie Edgar and Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Texeira due to injuries
"I think from the UFC's perspective it makes perfect sense," Bisping said of Silva vs. Bonnar. "I think from Anderson Silva's perspective it makes perfect sense. They lost the main event and the co-main event in the space of a day, Brazil's a massive market for the UFC now, it's beyond huge. They're going to put on a good card. The biggest star in mixed martial arts is Anderson Silva, who just happens to be Brazilian. It's perfect for the fans who get to see their hero fighting live in Brazil."
Bisping also said he's okay with the fight since it will be contested at light heavyweight and there are no implications for the middleweight division. In fact, he said he barely even thinks about Silva these days unless he's asked.
"I've been asked a lot of questions about the title implications, people ask it and I'll answer them," Bisping said. "But, that's not where my head's at, you know. I'd love to fight Anderson Silva one day, but, that might as well be a million miles away right now, because if I don't beat Brian Stann in the foreseeable future, it isn't going to happen anytime soon. So, I can answer questions and think about it, but I'm really not thinking about it. Everything is completely focused on Brian Stann. The guy's going to try to knock me out this weekend, and he's good at doing that. I don't want to go out there in front of millions of people and get my ass kicked. I'm not even thinking about Anderson Silva."
That's a smart move on Bisping's part, since he'll be fighting a much-improved fighter in Stann, who has won four of his past five bouts. Bisping has moved from England to Orange County, Calif., and while he and his family -- longtime girlfiend Rebecca and his three children, Callum (11), Ellie (9), and Lucas (2) -- enjoy the Southern California sunshine over Britain's gray days, the location change has served a professional purpose as well. He's been mainly training at Huntington Beach's Ultimate Training Center, while also working on his boxing with Jason Parillo at the RVCA gym in Costa Mesa.
Bisping feels the fans at the Air Canada Centre will see the fruits of his labor, one he believes has made him a more well-rounded fighter than his foe.
"He's kind of a one-trick pony," Bisping said of Stann. "He's got some power in his hands and that's about it. Obviously in mixed martial arts, grappling, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and all that, he doesn't seem too skilled in those areas. Most of his losses have come when he's been outwrestled and outgrappled, so yeah, l've looked at that. Chael Sonnen threw him around like a rag doll, but Chael Sonnen's an Olympic-level wrestler. I'm a better-level wrestler than Brian Stann, but I'm not an Olympic wrestler, so I can't .... styles make fights is what I'm trying to say. Am I going to be able to do what Chael Sonnen did? Maybe not, you know, so, I've got to prepare in other ways. I've been training with a new boxing coach, Jason Parillo. I feel my boxing is second to none. I'm going to try to go out there and put the pressure on him."
Bisping, of course, has long been a lightning rod for UFC fans who either love him or hate him. But he admits he's been taken a bit aback by fans who have accused him of trashing Stann, the much-admired Iraq War hero.
"I love the guy," Bisping said of Stann. "We spent some time up in Canada promoting the fight. About five days of PR together, unfortunately, he's a really nice guy. I'll stir the pot and I have done that, because we're going to fight and I'm trying to generate a bit of interest. If I can, you know, it's psychological warfare. ... If I can make him doubt himself in the media, I will. I've taken a bit of criticism lately, ‘how can you talk smack about Brian Stann?' I'm not trying to discredit him, I'm just trying to give myself a psychological edge. I"m trying to get him to doubt himself, because at the end of the day, we're going to step into the Octagon and fight each other, we're going to knock each other out. Confidence is a man's best friend in there. If he doubts himself, that's going to help me."
But even Bisping will admit his mouth sometimes gets him in trouble.
"Maybe I talk too much, who knows," Bisping said. "But I'm honest, maybe to a fault."