Michael Bisping Says His ‘Credibility’ Is On The Line Against Cung Le

Michael Bisping emerged onto the UFC’s stage in 2006 when he claimed “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 light-heavyweight tournament finale win. Now eight years and 20 fights into his senior circuit career, Bisping stands at a crossroads in his MMA journey.

At age 35, the British middleweight has slowly been sliding down the 185-pound rankings ladder (currently at No. 8) and has all but disappeared from title contention. With a record of 14 – 6, “The Count” has never been able to win the big fight that could earn him a title shot or title challenge match. Indeed, over his last five fights Bisping has only managed a 2 – 3 record, with his wins coming against non-contenders Alan Belcher and Brian Stann, while his losses came to title contenders, Tim Kennedy, Vitor Belfort, and Chael Sonnen.

Bisping’s next fight is this coming August 23, 2014, when he takes on MMA veteran Cung Le in Macau, China, at UFC Fight Night (UFN) 48: Bisping vs. Le. The Fight Pass presented bout is an important one to Bisping and a match that, by “The Count’s” own estimation, puts his “credibility as a fighter on the line” and he “has to win.”

In speaking with Rick J Lee, Bisping was both honest and realistic. Although the British fighter is in no danger of being cut by the UFC, he is in danger of losing his top ten ranking and diminishing his marquee value. By “The Count’s” view, his back will be to the wall in Macau and he plans on putting on the “performance of a lifetime” to prove his worth.

Bisping:

“My back is up against the wall in this fight. I have to prove to the UFC, I have to prove to my coaches, I have to prove to all my supporters, but more importantly I have to prove to myself that I’ve still got what it takes to be one of the best in the world. I’m still as hungry as ever, I’m training better than ever, this is one of the best training camps I’ve had in a long time, I feel very ready for this test, and make no mistake, I’m going to put on the performance of a lifetime.”  

One thing must be said for Bisping, rarely are fighters that candid in their career assessments and for that he should be applauded. In terms of the value of his honesty, it will be interesting to see if it pays off in his fight with Le.

If Bisping can put on a “performance of a lifetime” and take home a decisive win, he might be able to turn his career fortunes around. However, if Bisping takes a loss to Le, no matter what that loss is (decision or stoppage), it will be a hard blow to his future. Le is an aging fighter (42) and one looking to put an end to his career. If Bisping cannot take home a win against the unranked Le in Macau, then the question becomes, who can he beat?

The division is rife with big, hungry, talented, and dynamic fighters, and it is not going to get any easier. Bisping really does need a win in China and for the most important reason he stated, to prove that he still has “what it takes to be one of the best in the world.”

Photo courtesy of Michael Bisping 



7 Comments

  1. Profile photo of TheXperience

    TheXperience

    July 29, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Guess Spitsbing will go home with ZERO credibility, cause i don't see him beating Cung Le. Cung is such a bad match-up for him. He's a better striker AND grappler than Bisping. Tough tough fight….!

  2. Profile photo of ripstic5021

    ripstic5021

    July 30, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I have been a fan of Bisping since he was on The Ultimate Fighter but he has not looked very good lately at all. He has always lacked power in his striking and his wrestling has never been great. Over the years he hasn't really seemed to strengthen his weaknesses and I think that's why he may need to retire soon. I know his take down defence has been decent and I do think he won the Chael Sonnen fight but I've never seen his striking or wrestling look so bad as it did verses Tim Kennedy. Since the UFC inherited all the great taleneted 185 lb fighters from Strikeforce the division is stronger than ever and Bisping is on the outside looking in. Improving his wrestling to a top level and developing more power in his striking is the only way I see Bisping staying relevant in the UFC but I just think it's too late in his career for that. I will say though most of his fights have been very exciting and I do respect him and remain a fan I just think it may be time to evolve with the sport or retire.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      July 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

      I think Bisping is coming to the same conclusions that you have drawn and is thinking about an exit strategy from the sport. I think Bisping would be quite content being a full-time FOX analyst.

      I wish him the best, but I think the sport has passed him by. I think Cung Le is going to beat him and if we look at the top 15, I really do not see which of the fighters other than, maybe, Thales Leites, Bisping is going to beat.

      Again, I wish him the best, I respect and like him, but I think he might be done as a viable middleweight in the UFC. If I could grant him one wish, I would give him his fight with Anderson Silva as a parting gift and a pat on the back.

      • Profile photo of TheXperience

        TheXperience

        July 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

        That's a pretty devastating parting "gift", sending him packing with a broken face from the clinic A.S. would unleash on his ass…. You sure you like him Cox? Lol…

        • Profile photo of Brian Cox

          Brian Cox

          July 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

          XP – I would not give Bisping a chance in hell in a fight with Silva, but it is a match that Bisping has always wanted.

          If he wants to take the beating, then I think he has earned it. As Bisping says, it would be a "shame" if he went his career and never got a chance to fight Silva.

  3. Profile photo of jcren

    jcren

    July 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Bisping will win this fight. I actually could see Bisping using his wrestling which imo is under rated. Btw that is the only time you will see me use the words Bisping and underrated in the same sentence. Did we forget that Cung Le is 42 years old, hasn't fought in a year in a half and has NEVER fought a decent fighter anywhere near their prime. He lost to Wandy…nuff said.

    This is the guy. Bisping has always been a mid level talent that was pushed to try to build an international fan base for the UFC. Well, now the UFC has the international fan base and Bisping isn't needed anymore. Especially because Connor McGregor is the "New Bisping". He should totally become an analyst to reach that overseas market and take act as a "douchebag" Simon Cowellesq foil to the other analyst. Besides with Chael gone…there is an opening.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      July 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      I think that is a reasonable assessment and I think Bisping shares it. I agree, with McGregor on the scene, as well as the other great European talent on the rise, fighters like Gustafsson, Nelson, Manuwa, and others, all of whom are exciting fighters that generally finish their opponents, Bisping has become more than dispensable to the promotion.

      He has made a lot of money and a big name for himself, I think he would be a good addition to the FOX Sports desk – he is a genuine guy and he knows the sport – but I think he is past his prime relative to the sport and Cung Le win or no Cung Le win, none of the underlying facts will change. He is too UFC 1.0 and where his being from England might have protected him in the past, it no longer does; not with UFC Europe 2.0 having firmly arrived.

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