He certainly isn’t the first fighter to say it, but UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping loves Canada and is thrilled that’s where his next fight will take place.
The Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner is set to meet knockout artist Brian Stann in a featured bout at UFC 152 in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre in a few months.
“I absolutely love Toronto. I had an amazing time last time I fought (in Canada) and I can’t wait for Sept. 22,” Bisping told Jim Lang and Mike Farwell on Brady & Lang on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday morning.
The Manchester, England native is somewhat of a polarizing figure and is a fighter with as many detractors as he has supporters. Stann is military veteran and extremely popular with American fans, so Bisping is happy their fight is taking place on neutral soil.
“Brian Stann is a decorated war hero and good for him that’s fantastic, but it’s perhaps a good thing I didn’t fight him in deep Texas or something, I might have got shot on the way out to the arena,” Bisping said. “I’m proud to be fighting in Canada, part of the Commonwealth, and hopefully on neutral ground.”
Bisping (22-4) is one of the most well-rounded and accomplished athletes in the 185-pound division and knows he’s in for a war against the former WEC light-heavyweight champion.
“Brian’s a big, tough, powerful striker and I think the most dangerous weapon that he’s got, I’ve got to look out for his big, powerful bombs basically. I’ve got to look out for his big power shots. If I avoid those I think I’m the better technical fighter, so if I avoid those big one punches of his I think I should be able to beat him.
“I’ve got to be ready for his strength and ready for his punches and obviously I’ll do that. My training camp starts Monday, eight weeks of straight hell, and come Sept. 22 I’ll be more than ready for the task.”
Bisping believes he is ready for a title shot but says he was not disappointed when he found out he would be paired up with Stann. “I’m not let down at all. This is a huge fight,” Bisping explained. “Brian’s got a huge following, he’s a very, very well-known fighter and he’s a very exciting fighter and I think the matchup between me and him is a very exciting one.
“I think it’s a great addition to the card, it’s going to have a lot of media spotlight on it. I’m not disappointed at all. This is a huge fight and I want to be a part of the biggest fights possible. I get the job done here and I should get my shot at Anderson Silva and the middleweight title.”
Both Bisping and Stann, along with UFC 152 headliners Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson and Canadian star Rory MacDonald, were in Toronto for the event’s first official press conference.
In addition to the usual media obligations that go along with a press tour, Bisping and his foe got to take part in a unique staredown.