Since there is normally a swirl of trash talk surrounding UK middleweight Michael Bisping during the lead up to his fights, you may be unaware that “The Count” is actually fighting this weekend. Whether it is because he has lost two of his last three fights or because he has a stated respect for his upcoming opponent, Dan Miller, Bisping has remained uncharacteristically mum in the days leading up to UFC 114. Do not let that fool you into thinking the Brit has lost any of his confidence though, as he recently told Fighters Only Magazine that he is absolutely sure that he will win.
“To be honest I think he is mentally beaten already,” Bisping said of Miller. “It’s no secret he is coming off two losses and I think maybe I am a step up in some ways compared to those opponents because I am more well-rounded. I think I can stop his takedown and he knows that and I think he knows he won’t be able to submit me. So I think he’s nervous.”
So confident is Bisping that he doesn’t even see the fight making it to the final bell.
“Somebody [at the press conference] mentioned a three-round war,” said Bisping. “It ain’t going to be a three-round war. I am ready for a three-round war but I am not planning one. I am going straight at him and I am taking him out. I want a first round TKO, knockout whatever. I want to make a statement in this fight and I think he is a tailor-made opponent for me to do that.”
Making a statement could be the only way for Bisping to solidify himself as a contender in the middleweight division. With an impressive win over Denis Kang bookended by upsetting losses to Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva, Bisping needs another impressive win badly to prove that he can be more than a gatekeeper at 185lbs. Dan Miller is coming off of tough decision losses to top contenders Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen but has more than the skills needed to give Bisping a run for his money; if taken lightly, Miller could hand Bisping his second loss in a row. Though he is unabashedly confident in his ability to beat Miller, Bisping does lend him a measure of his respect.
“I have a lot of respect for him, he is a nice guy and I wish him well in his career but we are fighting each other and that’s what we have to do,” said “The Count.” “I am going to fight him and I am going to beat him up.”
Bisping has been quick to give respect to Miller throughout the lead up to their fight and should not be faulted for believing that his ability as a fighter will carry himself to victory, but if he is respecting Miller only for his qualities as a person without respecting his qualities as a fighter, he could have a long Saturday night ahead of him.