The former middleweight champ isn’t looking for a brawl with Michael Bisping outside the cage, but he’ll be ready if the situation calls for it.
Chris Weidman vs. Michael Bisping is one of the fights at middleweight. Michael Bisping, in his improbable rise to the title, managed to bypass most of the division’s current top contenders. He gave Ronaldo Souza a miss, waited out Yoel Romero, was several steps ahead of Robert Whittaker, and never quite in position to fight the ‘All-American’.
Of course, he beat Luke Rockhold in the fight that really mattered, and the result has left everyone in something of an awkward position. Bisping’s long career as a good-but-not-quite-great fighter gave him an aura of beat-ability. However, his reign seems to have rankled few people quite as much as Chris Weidman.
With Weidman as champ, Bisping was never in contention for the belt. To be leapfrogged by a fighter who seemed destined never to compete has to sting. And that sting has left the two men vocal rivals online and in the media.
As Bisping prepares for an upcoming bout with Georges St-Pierre – himself competing for the first time at 185 – Weidman is contemplating a move to light heavyweight, and the possibility of running into Bisping backstage.
“(laughs) I’m sure it will be,” Weidman responded when asked if running into the championwould be ‘weird.’ “I don’t care. I really can’t get mad at anything Bisping says and I can’t take him seriously. I mean, listen, if the guy comes in my face and he’s screaming, we’re probably gonna end up fighting. But I don’t think – if he really wants to do that type of thing, he’s looking for a fight, I mean, if he comes in my face and creates a problem, there’s going to be a problem, but I’m not looking for a problem with the guy. I don’t really care.”
As for the GSP fight itself, Weidman seems to feel that it’s just as surreal an idea as many fans and pundits have called it.
“It’s a crazy thing. I feel this whole thing is probably going to hold up the division for a long time if it works out that way. The way it looks like right now and the possibilities of how long it could take before opportunities for the guys to fight for the belt, it looks a little crazy right now. So hopefully things change a little bit and hopefully they will, cause I know Whittaker’s injured pretty long, I know he has a bad knee surgery, so I don’t know when he’s going to be back.
“And then you got GSP and Bisping. I mean, GSP hasn’t fought in four years and he’s been out for a while, so who knows until when he’d be ready if he was to win to fight again. And then you have Bisping, who also really hasn’t fought too much since he’s had the belt, you know? So I don’t know when even they would fight Whittaker, and then the winner of that, when are you actually gonna fight them, barring injury or not. So it’s a weird weight class right now, so I really don’t know. This whole thing is out of my control, so I just gotta sit back and worry about myself and see what happens.”
Otherwise, Weidman will have to wait and see what fights appear. He’s picking David Branch to beat Luke Rockhold, and ready for the off chance that GSP gets injured and he can step in to fight for the title. But, if he never gets the chance to face Bisping, Weidman wants fans to know that he’d be fine with that too.
“Nah, I don’t care,” Weidman said in regards to the potential that Bisping could retire without fighting him. “I want the biggest challenges, and honestly I don’t think he’s the biggest challenge. Definitely, whether he’s the champ or not, he’s not the individual that I get excited to fight because he’s champion. I could get excited to fight him if he had the belt. Other than that, which I don’t see him having the belt very long, I don’t see any reason to fight him.”
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre takes place on November 4th at UFC 217 in New York City, NY. The card is expected to be headlined by the middleweight title fight, with a bout between Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw bolstering the PPV card.