Two weeks ago, British/Irish/Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury called out UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Now the Big Brit is taking aim at fellow countryman Michael Bisping.
Fury, 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds, unleashed his criticism on a variety of topics about MMA and boxing in a phone interview on Tuesday from his training base in Holland. Bisping is in the main event this Saturday against Vitor Belfort in UFC on FOX in Brazil. If Bisping wins, he will have a chance to fight longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know much about Bisping (personally), but I think he’s a first-class prick. I think he’s a wanker,” Fury said. “He goes around like he’s some kind of big man, but he’s not. He’s a middleweight. Little man can’t mess around when there’s big men involved. I just think he needs to show some people respect and be a man. But good luck to him in this fight. If he gets past this one, he’ll definitely not beat Anderson Silva. He talks a good fight, but when he gets in there (he doesn’t do it).
“Let me tell you about Michael Bisping: Maybe four or five years ago, he was the golden boy for MMA in the U.K. In the last three or four years he’s been dead. There’s nothing been (mentioned) on Michael Bisping, not in the press, not on TV, nothing. So now he’s trying to build up his name again and gets some big fights or whatever.
“But when I recently challenged Cain Velasquez, (Bisping) had something to say about it that I really didn’t like just to get some publicity for himself off of his name because like I said he’s nobody now in the U.K. He said Cain Velasquez would beat me up severely and I should stick to boxing and not go into MMA because an MMA fighter will always beat a boxer.
“Everyone has forgotten about Michael Bisping. The best thing he could have done was talk about Tyson Fury to make the papers.”
The debate over who would have the advantage in a bout between a boxer and an MMA fighter is not a new one. In two examples of boxers versus mixed martial artists in an MMA bout, 48-year-old boxer Ray Mercer, a onetime WBO Heavyweight champion, knocked out former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia in 10 seconds in a super heavyweight bout in 2009. On the flipside, former five-time UFC champion Randy Couture submitted former IBF Middleweight/Super Middleweight/USBA Light Heavyweight champion James Toney in 2010 with an arm triangle choke at 3:19 of the first round.
“People say boxers can’t lick it with MMA fighters, but I disagree because Ray Mercer knocked out Tim Sylvia,” he said.
As for Toney’s facile loss to Couture, Fury said the legendary boxer has long since passed his prime and will ruin his legacy if he doesn’t soon retire.
Fury offered an interesting observation of what strengths and disadvantages a boxer and an MMA fighter would have if they battled. He stressed the MMA fighter would have the advantage if the match goes to the ground because the boxer is trained for stand-up fighting.
“He’s not trained on wrestling and on the floor, so obviously an MMA fighter is going to have the upper hand, but it’s about catching him on the way in because they don’t have the best stand-up skill in the world,” he said. “They just try to take a few punches in on the way to grab your legs or something. These MMA fighters are not proper stand-up fighters. Some of them throw proper punches, but it’s mostly arm punches and things like that, which wouldn’t do damage to a man of my size.”
Fury, who has a record of 20-0 with 16 knockouts, caused a fury on the internet when he called out Velasquez on Twitter, challenging him to fight in a cage or a ring and said it could be billed as “the man versus the midget.” Velasquez, who is 6-foot-1, replied by saying he had never heard of Fury, and that if he wanted to fight him he should become an MMA fighter and work his way up the ranks. Some interpreted Fury’s comments as nothing more than seeking publicity.
“I couldn’t care less what his reactions were to my tweet,” Fury said. “I’m sure everyone knows who Tyson Fury is, especially Cain Velasquez. He’s in a contact sport as well. I think they just try and pretend they don’t know people, so it makes them sound more official. I don’t know.”
Fury said it is “intriguing” to want to battle an MMA fighter or kickboxer, but he couldn’t just rush into it.
“I’m sure if it was all right and it was a good idea to do that, it wouldn’t be a problem for me,” he said. “If I could get a big fight in MMA, obviously I’d take it because I’m not bothered by what they can do or how big or small they are.’
Fury has been looking to fight WBC Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, but has been forced to wait his turn and prove himself. Fury is looking to fight sometime in March, and thinks if he wins it will possibly lead to a fight against Klitschko later in the year.
Fury said MMA has grown exponentially because it is relatively new, but doesn’t think it will take over boxing’s popularity.
“A family could watch a boxing contest, but they wouldn’t want the kids watching two men roll up and down the floor, punching each other (into a daze) and grabbing each other,” he said. “Kids don’t want to see that, but they would watch a boxing match. That’s why I don’t think it’s going to take over boxing, but it’s getting very good in U.S. and Canada. It’ll never take over in the U.K. because there’s not enough big fighters over there.”