Fight fans love a rivalry and the feud between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping is as real as it gets.
The grudge between the former Strikeforce middleweight champion and the brash Brit has been steadily growing over the past two years and they will finally set in to handle their business at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping on November 8. With post-fight callouts and interview sound bites, neither fighter has wasted an opportunity to speak their opinion of the other in the lead-up to their main event tilt in Sydney, Australia.
There is no love lost between the two 185-pound contenders, and it didn’t last long for the fireworks to get started. The vitriol flew from the jump as the notorious sparring session between the two reignited their fierce dialogue on Tuesday’s media conference call.
“It’s definitely a bonus to shut his mouth and set the record straight,” Rockhold said. “He’s just a guy I don’t respect for the way he carries himself around the sport. I’ve been around for a while, hear and see a lot of things, and I really don’t care for the guy. I’m looking forward to shutting him up in front of a lot of people. He seems to not be a genuine or nice guy to most people. He only carries himself to be nice to people that will further his career or help him. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about him not being nice to the average Joe. You have to treat people the way you want to be treated, and it seems like he’s a p***k toward everyone. I don’t know what he’s not happy about, but I’m looking forward to beating him on November 8.”
While The Ultimate Fighter season three winner is well known for trading leather inside the Octagon, the Englishman is perhaps even more famous for his ability to fire back on the counterpoint side of an argument. With Rockhold sharing his opinion on Bisping’s treatment toward others, the scrappy contender fired back with ferocity.
“Well allow me to shed some light on this situation because I’m not sure if Luke is aware of this but this is a f**king conference call,” Bisping rallied back in response. “He’s supposed to talk, but he’s supposed to be a little bit eloquent to get his side of the story over. Luke, I don’t know you and I don’t care for you. We haven’t shared a single proper conversation so you’re basing your facts - or what you presume as facts - on absolutely nothing. We’ve had one conversation after the sparring match in question that everybody talks about. You don’t know me. You don’t know me as a person, so kiss my f**king ass you lanky piece of s**t. I’ll see you in Australia you a**hole and we’ll put it all to bed then.”
The heat between the two top-ranked middleweights continued for the duration of the call as they exchanged shots on a myriad of topics connected with their upcoming showdown. The matchup is of equal reward for each fighter, as both are currently highly ranked contenders to the middleweight crown, but the personal rivalry between Rockhold and Bisping adds an interesting element for both fighters to carry.
Nevertheless, both are professionals competing on the biggest stage in MMA, and they assured the media on hand that their emotions would be kept in check come fight night.
“As you can tell in the way I’ve carried myself in the conversations leading up to this fight, I’m not too emotional,” Rockhold shared. “You want to see emotional, go back and watch the lead up to my fight with Vitor Belfort. In the fight I was pissed and emotional and you could see it in my eyes. I’m comfortable and relaxed now and that (the Belfort fight) is never going to happen again. I’m never going to let my emotions get the best of me and I’ve done my work. I’ve prepared and I’m better than I’ve ever been. I’m going to go out there and do my job.”
“No, I’m not upset about any of his remarks,” Bisping replied. “Anything Luke Rockhold says doesn’t register to me to be honest. This guy is trying to jump on a bandwagon saying he’s doing this for the sake of everybody and I’m such an a**hole and no one likes me. Nobody has the right to base that opinion on anything because when I’m outside of the Octagon, I’m at home with my wife and kids.
“Regarding emotion, I’m going down there to take care of business. Luke Rockhold is not someone I obsess about. I don’t care or think about him. I’m here to do my job and to put on an entertaining fight for the people. I’ve done that my entire career and I’m going down to Sydney to take care of business. I get to shut this guy’s mouth in the process, so that’s a plus.”