5 Minutes with Michael Bisping

You’ve lived in Southern California for more than a year now. Have you officially become a Californian?

It’s weird. I just went to England, but when I came back, it really did feel like I was coming home. I’m English, I will always have England in my roots, but, in my heart, Southern California is home now.

How has the move helped in terms of your training?

It’s much more accessible. Back home in England, I had to do a lot of traveling in the car just to get a decent training session. Now, I
have a bunch of different gyms at my fingertips. I’m predominantly based at the Ultimate Training Center in Huntington Beach that my friend Tiki Ghosn owns, but I’m traveling around a bit and taking advantage of all the places to train.

How does the weather in Huntington Beach compare to England?

The weather is a lot better, and that certainly makes training a hell of a lot easier. Back in England, we used to go train at the Wolfslair and there was ice on the mats. It wasn’t the most comfortable training scenario.

Your UFC on Fox fight with Chael Sonnen was a tough decision loss. Do you think you won that fight?

Obviously, I’m going to stand here and say that I won that fight. At the end of the fight, before the judges announced it, Chael asked me, ‘What do I think?’ I said that I thought I won the first two rounds, and he said, “I think you might be right, buddy.” Chael did a great job. I fought my ass off, and he did what he needed to do. I think the third round is what swung it for him. It’s mixed
martial arts—if you can’t stop the takedown, then do something about it. I’d love to rematch him again. I know I can beat him. If it was a five-round fight—like it should have been—I think I would have stopped him for sure. I’ll get my chance. I’ll beat Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 in Calgary, I’ll get my rematch, I’ll fight Chael, and I’ll fight Anderson Silva. I’m not worried.

Boetsch is coming off a spectacular comeback victory against Yushin Okami. What did you learn from watching that fight?

Boetsch is hard to break, he’s not going to give up. He’s got a strong will, and he’s going to be tough to beat. A man like that is always dangerous. He’ll fi ght tooth and nail right to the bitter end. I’m going to learn from Yushin’s mistake. He had that fight in the bag, got a little complacent, and he paid the price.

You have three children who are starting to grow up and understand that daddy is a fi ghter. What’s it like explaining to them what you do for a living?

To be honest, I’ve done this for a long, long time now, and it all seems normal to them. My oldest is fully aware of it. He trains
jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. He says he wants to be a fi ghter…but not if I have anything to do with it [laughing]. Although, I think he could do very well, because he’s very good at it. He’s fully aware. He’s been to many of my fights. My daughter knows what goes on, she’s been to a couple of my fights, but she’s not interested. We have a tradition after a fight—I always take the kids to Toys R’ Us,
and they can pick out whatever they want because I have been away for so long. It’s a little tradition we have. She doesn’t really
give a damn as long as we get to go to Toys R’ Us.

Any time you enter an arena outside of Great Britain, the noise from the crowd is 90 percent boos. Why is that?

It’s something I’ve come to accept, and, to be honest, I kind of like it, I kind of relish it. I like getting a reaction, and I have a bit of fun with it. I do believe it’s a bit of pantomime. All of my experience in America, people are really nice to me. Of course, when they get together in a crowd, they all boo the hell out of me. That’s fine. Have fun. We’re here to entertain.

Good luck getting a lot of boos in Calgary at UFC 149 on July 21.

Thanks, mate. I can’t wait.

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