Michael Bisping on Jorge Rivera and Wesley Snipes

(Image credit: Unknown)

How's the training camp gone?
It's been fantastic. I feel great – I'm fit as a fiddle and I've got no injuries. I can't wait to fight Jorge Rivera at UFC 126 on 26th February.
You've just arrived in Australia, where are you going to be training in the two weeks before the bout?
I'm training at the Elite Fight Gym in Sydney. I trained there before I fought Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110 last year. I'll be working with some of the guys that fight out of the gym but also a couple of lads I've brought over from the Wolfslair (the Widnes gym Bisping fights out of). I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks of training in the sunshine!
The way in which Rivera called you out seems to have got him the fight he wanted. Does it make you think it's something you might try in future?
Not really, Jorge Rivera is not a fighter I'd hold up as an example of how to behave. He doesn't have two brain cells to bang together.
Steven Segal claims he taught Anderson Silva the kick he used to knock out Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. If you could learn some moves from a fading 1990s action hero, who would it be?
Ha! Wesley Snipes from the New Jack City era. He was a bad man in that film.

Who would you rather see Anderson Silva fight next: George St-Pierre or Yushin Okami?
George St-Pierre. It's the biggest fight the UFC could put together right now. The fans want to see it and they're both truly dominant in their weight class. It sucks for Okami though – he's the number one contender but if the St-Pierre vs Silva bout happens, he's going to be waiting a long time to get his shot.
Where do you see yourself in the title picture after a win over Rivera?
I certainly think I'm one of the top three middleweight contenders. OK, so I dropped a decision to Wanderlei Silva and I got stopped by Dan Henderson, but I've beaten a lot of good guys and put on exciting fights. I don't think beating Rivera will get me the title shot but one more victory over a top opponent and I think it'll happen.

How surprised were you by the Silva vs Belfort outcome?

I did pick Anderson Silva to win but I didn't think he was going to do it like that. He again proved why he's the best fighter on the planet.
Given how unpredictable Silva is, what would you do in training to prepare yourself for a bout for him?
One of the problems with getting ready for Silva is that it's so tough finding training partners who can pull off the things he can. If you're going to fight him, you need a good game plan – the worst thing you can do with him is give him space because he's so long and fast. You've got to smother him and keep the pressure up but that's easier said than done!

Who's your pick for the upcoming Jon Jones vs Shogun Rua fight?

I think Jon Jones will win. He looked a bit nervous in his last fight against Ryan Bader at UFC 126, even though he did very well. I think the hype around the bout with Bader got to him a bit. It could happen again against Shogun but he's certainly got the skills to beat him.

It sometimes looks as if Jones and Silva are making up moves in the cage as they fight? Do you ever find yourself doing stuff in the Octagon that you haven't drilled in training?
They are both very inventive and to my mind that's the sign of a true martial artist and world-class fighter. From a personal point of view, I find myself doing stuff when sparring that I haven't drilled. I think one of my old faults, which I'm starting to rectify now, is that I've bee too conservative. I certainly throw a lot of good strikes in the gym that I haven't used in fights. Hopefully Jorge Rivera will be on the end of them in a couple of weeks.

There's been a bit of trash talk between you and Chael Sonnen. Have you got any interest in fighting him once he gets his problems sorted?
I'm interested in fighting the best guys out there. I've got a chump in Jorge Rivera to take out first, but once I've got past him I'd love to fight Sonnen, Okami or Nate Marquardt.
If you've had a successful training camp, do you repeat it for the next fight or do you automatically change things?
You don't want to get stale – you want to go into every fight a more improved, better version of yourself so you look to retain the best bits from previous camps and add bits that will make you a more complete fighter.

As you get older, do you find the weight cut harder?
It doesn't get any easier but at this point in my career I understand the process a lot better than I used to, and I don't have any problems getting to fight weight. Having said that, I was a light heavyweight in my early days in the UFC and I'd like to pack on a bit more muscle go back up there in a few years time.

World's biggest DJ or UFC middleweight champ, which would you prefer to be?
UFC middleweight champion. Hands down, without a shadow of doubt.
Forgetting the title for a minute, which fighter in your division would you most like to fight and why?
Right now I'm totally focused on Jorge Rivera. He's a prick and I can't wait to kick his arse!
For Bisping's blog, fight gear and analysis of the biggest fights in MMA, check out 
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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.