Belcher made headlines weeks ago when he offered up a bet that said if Bisping could knock out the Mississippi-born fighter in the first round of their bout, heíd have to get a tattoo of the British flag on his chest. If Bisping lost, heíd in turn have to get the same Johnny Cash tattoo that Belcher sports on his left arm. When that bet failed to get Bispingís attention, Belcher then found the support of current Cincinnati Bengal Wallace Gilberry, who offered up his Rolls Royce worth $300,000 if Bisping could beat his friend at UFC 159.
ďThat was (Gilberryís) own idea and he did that on the spot, right then,Ē Belcher said. ďI donít expect Bisping to take that bet, although he does make pretty good damn money. He definitely knows better than that. Heís not going to bet. Heís worried about this fight. He knows that I hit hard and he knows that Iím not a Brian Stann, thatís not my only chance. He would have to be on the top of his game to even get me down to the ground and to hold me down is another story. Iím bigger and Iím stronger and Iím going to whoop Bisping at UFC 159. Thatís all there is to it.Ē
Belcher was spurred to place his initial wager after hearing that Bisping said he would defeat the Mississippi native in the first round.
ďItís kinda disrespectful to say that you guarantee that youíre going to take somebody out in the first round,Ē Belcher said. ďIím not saying Iíve never lost a fight in the first round. In all of my fights, and not just including my pro fights but amateur (MMA), amateur boxing, amateur kickboxing, BJJ, no-gi, anything that I have ever done, I got put to sleep one time and I got TKOíd one time and thatís it. And I never even went down when I got TKOíd, I was still on my feet. Iím a durable person. I donít think anyone is just going to come in and stomp me, especially after they already went ahead and said that theyíre going to stomp me in the first round. Thatís a big hell no. You ainít going to do that, I guarantee it. But I ainít worried about that. Iím worried about how Iím going to win, not how Iím going to lose.Ē
All bets aside, ĎThe Talentí is no dummy. He knows that Bisping is a tough out for any middleweight in the world.
ďHeís a very hard person to beat. He knows how to play the game,Ē Belcher said. ďHe knows how to win the rounds; he knows how to win exchanges, he knows how to win fights. Thatís the most dangerous thing about Michael Bisping; the hustle, the way he plays the game, and the fast pace. He sneaks in a takedown or makes sure you canít get the takedown and makes sure that he finishes the round hard. Heís real fast, he moves around a lot. His takedowns arenít great. Heís not a real wrestler and on the ground, heís not going to submit me or put me in trouble at all. Standing up, I donít have to tell you, he doesnít really have a lot of knockouts. I donít think he has any at all, especially in the UFC. Iím going to try and hurt him. Iím going to go in there and make him feel the power right off the bat. He doesnít really understand how hard I punch now or how hard I can kick. Iím going to go forward the whole time.Ē
Belcher saw a significant hole in Bispingís loss to Vitor Belfort via a spectacular head kick knockout.
ďHeís not very technical, not very knowledgeable on how to kick box,Ē Belcher said. ďYou have to be expecting a southpaw to fake a left hand to throw a left head kick and trying to block a kick with one hand; you have to have a little more training than that. He doesnít know how to block kicks. Iím just a dangerous person for him and thatís a point fighterís nightmare. His legs are going to be hurting.Ē
Belcher thinks a win over ĎThe Countí puts him right back in the mix of the division.
ďWith the way that itís set up now, itís going to put me in his spot. Heís No. 3 and Iím going to be right there and Iíll be another fight or two away (from a title shot),Ē he said. ďWhat I have to do is stay fresh and keep improving. My next few years I just need to go on a tear and get back on a streak. I got a little cocky and a loss lit a fire under my ass. Sometimes that is what you need to wake up.
Belcher has bandied the idea of hosting his own press conference online so he and Bisping can go back-and-forth verbally before physically.
ďSomeday next month Iím going to host my own press conference online where everybody can tune in, live streaming video and Michael Bisping is going to be able to get on there and say whatever he wants and answer questions from the media and debate me,Ē Belcher said. ďI really am going to do that, whether or not he will accept it. I think that would be huge and everyone would enjoy that. Weíll just take an hour, answer all questions and everyone can write articles all at once and knock that crap out that way we can focus on training.Ē
Belcher is looking to get back on track after he saw his four-fight win streak snapped by Yushin Okami by decision at UFC 155 in December of 2012. Okami has been on a tear, winning three-straight, and Belcher is respectful of his skills. Belcher heaped plenty of praise and said if he had the opportunity to fight Okami again, he would take a different approach.
ďI wish I could get that opportunity but I donít think that itís ever going to happen because he has nothing to gain from it,Ē Belcher said. ďBut I would probably work on my striking more. I underestimated his striking. I thought I was going to beat him easy, though I did beat him in the striking game, I feel like I could have turned it up a notch and been in a little bit better shape and keep hustling and keep him from trying to take me down. Heís a big middleweight and heís a strong guy. On the ground I think itís a mix of his body build and body style mixed with his technique that held me down. I think heís a really good, technical grappler. His lay and pray is damn good.Ē