Well that escalated quickly.
On Tuesday afternoon, news broke that Chris Weidman was forced out of his title fight with UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold scheduled for UFC 199 on June 4. In response several fighters took to social media, asking for the opportunity to fill in on short notice with many in the MMA community speculating that the title shot would be offered to Michael Bisping on account of his recent accomplishments and his ability to effectively promote a title fight in only two weeks. Bisping was in fact given the fight Wednesday afternoon and he and Rockhold did an interview with UFC Tonight where things remained cordial... for about thirty seconds.
"Chris Weidman yet again pulled out of a fight," said Bisping. "Jacare decided that he had no balls. So of course they needed a real fighter to step in. A fighter's fighter. Somebody with the heart and determination that's willing to do this. So look no further than yours truly."
"It's unfortunate about Weidman but thanks to Michael Bisping, being a man and stepping up and taking this fight," responded Rockhold. "And I want to congratulate him on his retirement. Sounds like he's got a nice budding movie career so I'm excited to send him off into the sunset."
That line from Rockhold seemed to get a rise out of Bisping who is currently on location filming scenes for his role in the upcoming movie 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'. In response, he fired back at Rockhold about an old sparring session between the two in which Bisping says he beat Rockhold up and stressed that this fight wouldn't be like their last one.
"You know first time I kicked your ass in training. Yes okay, you got the better of me in that last fight but every fight is different. Every fight is different. You know this. Luke, don't underestimate me pal. All the pressure is on you. I'm coming in nice and loose, swinging. I'll be hard and fresh and I'm looking for your chin pal and it only takes one, so just be careful.
"...I'm the only person that you fought that's a real fighter. Machida, he just failed his drug test and he came off the juice prior to your fight. He looked terrible. Costa Philippou, Costa Phili-who? No one even knows who that is. Weidman, I always knew he was too slow. Since me, you haven't fought a real fighter. Congrats. You got the job done on the night. You did. Well done and I take my hat off to you. I was beaten by the better man that night but believe you me every fight is different. Don't expect that same performance, don't come in too overconfident pal because I'll make you pay for it."
Rockhold and Bisping last fought at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping on Nov. 7, 2014. After a somewhat competitive first round, Rockhold stunned Bisping with a head kick early in the second before taking him down and finishing him with a mounted one-armed guillotine choke in a submission of the year candidate. Rockhold's dominance over Bisping in the recent past is one of the reasons some fans believed Bisping would not get offered the title shot. And while Bisping is right - this is MMA and anything can happen - Rockhold seemed dismissive of the possibility.
"All I know is, you're gonna get a fight. You're gonna get a great fight and a great beat down. It's gonna be a great career. You're gonna ride off into the sunset. You got your title shot. It ain't gonna be nice. I'll give you a couple more scars for your movie career."
Bisping has had one of the better careers in UFC history. He has been fighting for the promotion for almost 10 years, holds the record for most significant strikes landed in UFC history (1393) and is second in both total strikes landed (1728) and total fight time (5:20:04). He also has the most wins in UFC middleweight history and is tied for second most wins in promotional history (one behind Georges St. Pierre). He won season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter and has headlined 10 events for the UFC, but despite all of these accolades, a title shot has remained elusive. But while many, apparently including Rockhold, view this as the crowning achievement of Michael Bisping's career, he doesn't see it that way.
"I don't just wanna fight for the title. I don't want a title shot so I can get a nice pay day. I want to be world champion and that's why I've worked for an entire lifetime to get here. I'm not here by accident. I just beat the greatest of all time in Anderson Silva, I've been fighting the best in the world for over 10 years. Yeah I've had my ups and downs but here I am. I'm a better fighter. I've made leaps and bounds mentally and the mental aspect of fighting is the most crucial. I've really learned a lot about myself over the last year and if Luke thinks it's the same person stepping into the octagon that he beat last time then he's mistaken."
Perhaps he is, but Rockhold remains supremely confident, digging into Bisping with a verbal jab almost as sharp as his actual one, angering Bisping and sending him off on a tirade for the rest of the interview.
"It's his destiny right?" said Rockhold. "That's what he calls it. It's his destiny to be my bitch. It's your destiny to be my little bitch."
"It's my destiny to be your little bitch?" Bisping replied. "Dude I couldn't be your little bitch if...no part of you can be any...you've got nothing going on between your ears buddy. You look good. You don't talk good. And you ain't gonna fight that good next week, eh in two weeks.
"You've got all the pressure on you. You're the guy that's supposed to be the big swinging dick, well I'm coming for you. You just pissed me off. You're gonna eat your words so bad. You're gonna look like a god damn fool.
"[Inaudible] You hit me and I didn't even feel a god damn thing. His punches are pathetic. [Inaudible] You're weak as piss. Kiss my ass."
If the UFC selected Bisping to get the title shot for his ability to promote the fight on short notice, he wasted no time showing them that they couldn't have made a better choice.
Rockhold will defend his middleweight title against Bisping at UFC 199 on June 4, in Inglewood, Calif. You can watch the entire interview below.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Got there. Michael Bisping steps in to face Luke Rockhold for the UFC middleweight championship at UFC 199.
Ouch. Chris Weidman explains the injury that forced him out of UFC 199.
Who? Demetrious Johnson will defend his UFC flyweight championship at UFC 201 against Wilson Reis.
Why? Despite what UFC Tonight said, Cyborg insists she will be defending her 145-pound Invicta title next.
RIP. Pat Curran discusses being the final sparring partner of the late Jordan Parsons.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
100% this. Andreas Hale of Sherdog.com argues that the UFC should build a women's 145 lb. division around Cyborg.
Crow is delicious. I wrote this a month ago about Bisping. Seems appropriate to re-link it now since I'll have to change the name.
Dany DeVito talking to Cowboy with only the most rudimentary knowledge of fighting is a thing.
TJ talking about his rematch with Assuncao.
The MR is a pro Derrick Lewis space and if you don't agree then we don't trust you.
Video of Matt Betzold's win this past weekend at WFF. Betzhold has one leg and just moved to 7-2 as a flyweight. I've watched him fight in person and the man has some skills.
This is a cool KO.
Paige saying Ronda should fight Cyborg.
Breaking down how Werdum lost the title.
Interview with Georgia Karakhanyan
Chael talking to Dan Hardy.
This type of enthusiastic fight promotion is why Dana White gets paid the big bucks. "Hey everyone, our first two options bailed so why not this guy?!"
Weidman out with herniated disks, Jacare out with Miniscus surgery, Rockhold vs Bispingpic.twitter.com/hNiwfV6lqL— Dana White (@danawhite) May 18, 2016
Rockhold and Bisping got after it on Twitter
This is just nonsense. Uriah Hall is coming off a loss.
He knew I had a full camp so bisping would be easy coming off 2 weeks .. Smart move .— U R I A H H A L L (@UriahHallMMA) May 18, 2016
Weidman gets hurt a lot but this one sounds especially crappy.
I just wanna let my fans know as many details as possible about what happened to me because I want them involved... https://t.co/mbbIxNOaZZ— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) May 18, 2016
Nice to see other fighters support the man.
@ChrisWeidmanUFC just read your post bro. Wish you a speedy recovery. Injuries r injuries, you need not apologize to anyone. It's your life!— Brad Tavares (@BradTavares) May 18, 2016
And pro wrestlers with broken necks.
@ChrisWeidmanUFC Chris, give me a follow. I can help you at with the neck situation. Prayers are with You— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) May 18, 2016
Seems like they should have that squared away before announcing it.
Meanwhile Stipe continues his tour of Cleveland.
And takes a page out of Tim Sylvia's book.
I just wear it everywhere. https://t.co/9oB6hSWOFo— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) May 18, 2016
This is too perfect for words.
@stipemiocicufc wear it proud man not to many people in the world have any idea what it takes to get that let alone all time and hard work— Tim Sylvia (@timsylviamma) May 18, 2016
Like Floyd said, they need to discuss some things.
DJ could literally spend his entire training doing only that and still beat the brakes off of Wilson Reis.
Dillashaw doing some work at Tristar it appears.
Anderson recovering from surgery.
Tom Macellino (7-4-0) vs. Devin Powell (6-1-0); WSOF 31, June 17.
Robert Fonseca (10-3-0, 1 NC) vs. Sean Lally (4-2-0); WSOF 31, June 17.
Saul Ameida (18-6-0) vs. Bruce Boyington (12-8-0); WSOF 31, June 17.
Rodrigo Almeida (12-3-0) vs. Ben Pierre-Saint (9-4-0); WSOF 31, June 17.
Sam Watford (2-0-0) vs. Christian Torres (0-0-0); WSOF 31, June 17.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2005: Joe Riggs won the vacant WEC middleweight championship, forcing Rob Simmons to submit to punches in the first round at WEC 15. Also featured, James Irvin made his final title defense of his WEC heavyweight championship knocking out Doug Marshall with a knee in the second round.
2007: Yoko Takahashi won the Smackgirl open weight title, defeating Alicia Mena at Smackgirl 2007: The Queen Said The USA Is Strongest. Also at the event, Smackgirl middleweight champion Hitomi Akano defeated Elizabeth Posener via armbar in a non-title fight and future Smackgirl open weight champion Hiroko Yamanaka won the Super Gals Mix Cup Open Weight Tournament final, setting her up for a fight with Takahashi.
2008: Three Deep titles were won at Deep 35: Impact. Yuichi Nakanishi defeated Riki Fukuda in a tournament final to win the vacant middleweight championship, Dokonjonosuke Mishima defeated reigning champion Masakazu Imanari by decision to become the featherweight champion, and Tae Hyun Bang knocked out reigning lightweight champion Kazunori Yokota with punches.
2012: Daniel Cormier won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, defeating Josh Barnett by unanimous decision at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier. Also featured, Gilbert Melendez won a very close split decision over Josh Thomson to defend his Strikeforce lightweight championship.
1981: The greatest MMA fighter of all time, Georges St. Pierre.
*Updated to correct year of Strikeforce Heavyweight GP
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.