<
>

Bisping balks at Weidman, backs Boetsch

Speak your mind: Michael Bisping isn't biting his tongue when it comes to his feelings on Chris Weidman. Al Powers for ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- Michael Bisping isn’t about to get into an argument with UFC brass about whether Chris Weidman deserves to be its No. 1 middleweight contender.

He’ll argue with just about everybody else about it, though.

The British middleweight is all set to meet Brian Stann on the main card of next week’s UFC 152 card in Toronto. It’s a big fight in the 185-pound division, but it doesn’t appear as though a title shot is in the cards for Bisping, regardless of the outcome.

For now, Bisping’s status remains behind the undefeated, 28-year-old Weidman -- and that’s where his objections begin. In his mind, how does a decision win over Demian Maia and landing one elbow on a “fat Mark Munoz” outweigh what he’s accomplished?

“He’s got an undefeated streak going and that’s great,” Bisping said. “Dana [White] is the president of the company and far be it from to disagree with him. But I don’t think [Chris] is the [No. 1 contender].

“You elbow a fat Mark Munoz and all of a sudden you’re the great white hope ... hype ... the great white whatever?”

It’s possible that none of the current rankings in the middleweight division matter anyway. Champ Anderson Silva is scheduled to meet Stephan Bonnar in a non-title light heavyweight bout in October and possibly, if the stars align, take on 170-pound champion Georges St. Pierre in 2013.

If that’s the case, Bisping is prepared to fight again anyway as he waits for Silva to finally defend his title. If that ends up being against Weidman, perfect.

“You look at the skills and say that I could box his f---ing head off as well,” Bisping said, when asked on how he’d match Weidman’s grappling skills. “Certainly I’ve got better wrestling than he has boxing.

“I train with professional boxers. I could have a career in professional boxing no problem. F--- it. If I wanted to be a professional wrestler I could be a wrestler.”

Bisping (22-4), who, along with Chris Leben, remains only one of two fighters to record 12 wins inside the Octagon and never earn a title shot, says his full focus is on Stann next week -- but that didn’t stop him from suggesting he’s not sure if Weidman’s undefeated record will still be intact by the time he’d fight him.

Weidman (9-0) has agreed to fight Tim Boetsch later this year at UFC 155 in Las Vegas. After training for Boetsch himself this summer, Bisping believes that could be a tough stylistic fight for Weidman.

“He may just come up short against Boetsch,” Bisping said. “I think Boetsch might be a tough matchup for him. Boetsch is a big strong boy. He might not be the most technical of guys, but he’s durable and not to be written off. When I was supposed to fight him, I was looking at it as a dangerous fight.”

Stann, Weidman, Boetsch, whoever -- it’s all still stepping stones to a fight with Silva.

It’s somewhat hard to believe Bisping has spent six years with the UFC and still never once ran into the pound-for-pound great. He’s intent on fixing that before time runs out.

“It’s not like I’m obsessed with him, but Anderson is going to down as one of the greatest fighters ever,” Bisping said.

“In 20 to 30 years, when I’m an old man with my grandkids or sitting at a bar talking about Anderson Silva -- for me to say I went 10 years in the organization side by side with him and never fought him would be disappointing to say the least. A robbery. Not to fight him would be a failed career.”