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Michael Bisping fires back at ‘laughingstock' Luke Rockhold: ‘He needs to be taught a lesson'

Victor Fraile

A week after Luke Rockhold appeared on The MMA Hour to issue a challenge for rival Michael Bisping to "put his money where his mouth is," Bisping did just the same, firing back on Tuesday's show at the "obsessed" former Strikeforce champ and his "pathetic" attempts to goad him into a fight, the most notable of which took place in the early hours of a Macau hotel following Bisping's recent fourth-round TKO victory over Cung Le.

"[My dad and I] were both nursing a bit of a hangover because we had a couple of drinks the night before, and we're just having a coffee and catching up," Bisping recalled of the encounter. "Obviously I live in America and he lives in England, so now that all the excitement of the fight and all that stuff was over, we're just having a conversation catching up on old times. And, lo and behold, there [Rockhold] comes walking over, looking a little bleary-eyed himself. He was probably still feeling the effects for sure, because I'm sure in the cold light of day he wouldn't come up and start challenging somebody to a fight outside of the Octagon whilst out with family members. I certainly wouldn't do that, and I'd like to think he wouldn't.

"So he comes over: ‘Hey Bisping, one round. Come on, I'll finish you in one round and I want your purse.' He started going on about that stupid bet that he does, and I just said, ‘Look at the state of ya. Go home, sober up, and stop making a fool out of yourself.'

"Maybe if I was younger," continued Bisping, "There might have been a situation when we were having the coffee. But in this occasion, I'd done all my fighting the night before, and I'm a professional, so I just ignored him. I laughed at him, I took the higher ground. But make no mistake, I do want to fight that guy, for sure. He needs to be taught a lesson. He needs to be put in his place."

The ‘stupid bet,' as Bisping put it, appears relatively extraneous now that the UFC is eyeing Machida as a next dance partner for Rockhold. Still, it was a unique (if not remarkably patronizing) challenge that Rockhold issued the Brit: If he could knock Bisping out in the first round, the two would switch purses. If he couldn't, Rockhold would forfeit his entire purse over to Bisping.

"I've never been finished before in one round in my life," Bisping said flatly of the idea. "I don't know why Luke Rockhold thinks he's going to be the first to do it. But it's not exactly a fair bet, is it? Let's be honest, my purse is a little higher. I've been around a lot longer than Luke Rockhold.

"But I'll have a gentleman's bet. I'll challenge him to a fight, and the winner takes all, you know what I mean? I've never been finished in one round in my life. I've certainly never been finished in one round like he did against (Vitor) Belfort. So he just needs to shut up, really, and focus on his fights. I see him hanging out at pool parties, he's cupping tigers' balls. The real question is, did he take that tiger to a pool party after he was done feeling him up? The guy slowly but surely is turning into a bit of a laughingstock. Just get back to business, get back to winning fights, and people will take you seriously again."

An official announcement has yet to be made in regards to Rockhold-Machida, so Bisping is holding out hope that public opinion can sway the fight over to his direction. Still, he acknowledged that no matter what angle the UFC elects to take, he is ultimately happy to be in the position to continue making some noise in the division, especially considering the shaky ground he would have stood upon had Lady Luck turned against him in late-August.

At 35 years old, if Bisping would've followed a lackluster performance against Tim Kennedy with an equally disastrous performance against Le, it would've likely signaled a death knell to the Brit's time as a contender. But having avoided such a fate, Bisping now looks back on his quick turnaround from a severely detached retina this past April as a mistake.

"Hindsight is 20/20 of course," Bisping said. "I took that (Kennedy) fight too soon. ... For a year I couldn't train, I couldn't do anything to get my heart-rate up because it would raise the pressure in my eye, so I did nothing for a year except sit on my backside.

"So upon my return (once I was medically cleared), I booked a fight straight away. And then six weeks later I was fighting Tim Kennedy. Now, in hindsight, it was a little too soon -- going a year of resting, not doing any jiu-jitsu, doing nothing for a year, to fighting in the main event of a tough fight in six weeks' time. It was too soon. What I should've done in hindsight was have a few months, get back in the gym, get ready and get sparring, get used to dealing with guys like that. But of course, like always in my life, I was a little too hasty. I was impatient. I wanted to get in there as fast as possible. I wanted to earn some money again; obviously sitting on my couch for a year wasn't generating any income, so I wanted to fight.

"And you miss the spotlight," he added. "You miss it. I mean, this is what I do. I wanted to get back in there ASAP. I thought it was just a case of shedding a few pounds and getting my cardio up to scratch. What I should've done is get in there and really work on my technique for a while, because it had suffered a little. But everybody's got excuses, and that's mine."

Bisping explained that while his vision continues to be "a little impaired" from what it once was, it doesn't affect him while training or sparring, so overall he considers himself to be 100-percent healthy. He hopes to close out an up-and-down 2014 campaign with at least one more fight, and if he somehow finds himself locked against Rockhold, he has no doubt that the result will go the same way as the pair's infamous 2012 sparring session.

"Luke Rockhold talks a lot of s--t. He knows. That sparring we had that day, he got his ass kicked as he knows it so he's coming out with all this crap," Bisping vowed. "That fight ends one way: with me winning."

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