Middleweight Michael Bisping still was digesting news that Anderson Silva planned to take a year off from fighting when he spoke to MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMAjunkie.com Radio | MMAjunkie.com
Since then, Silva has reversed course – if he ever changed course at all – and volunteered to fight welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, who will now decide whether the superfight is in his best interest.
Whatever Silva's plan is, Michael Bisping wants to make sure his middleweight division doesn't get left behind.
"Yes, of course, we like to fight, and it's a business as well," he said. "But you want that progression and to fulfill your dream, and my dream is to be world champion one day. We all have a clock that's ticking. I've still got a lot of time left, but I don't want to waste a year fighting for the hell of it. I want to know that I'm moving toward something."
Silva announced his willingness to fight St-Pierre just prior to the welterweight champ's title defense against Carlos Condit at UFC 154. There was no in-cage staredown, but the middleweight kingpin dropped into UFC President Dana White's office to announce he is ready for the superfight.
Now scheduled to headline UFC on FX 7 opposite Vitor Belfort, Bisping would move closer to a No. 1 middleweight contender's spot with a win. A setback against onetime title challenger Chael Sonnen is the Brit's only setback in the past two years, and his marketability makes him not only attractive to the UFC, but to Silva, who's complained of lack of marquee opponents in the 185-pound class.
That might not matter, though, if the middleweight champ has his sights set on meetings with St-Pierre and light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones. And it certainly wouldn't make a difference if he sat on the bench to make movies with Steven Seagal and spend time with his family.
Whether Silva is simply toying with his audience by hinting at one fate or another, and whether his lofty plans come to fruition, Bisping needs answers.
"I kind of feel like he's maybe having a little bit of fun with it sometimes, but this isn't a comedy program," he said. "This is the UFC, and this is fighting. It's serious business. If you want to take a year out, take a year out. If you don't want to take a year out, fight the No. 1 contender. Anderson is the best, but you've got to defend that title."
Bisping doesn't fault Silva for carving his own path and acknowledges the Brazilian as the best fighter in the business. At the same time, he suggested an interim title could keep the middleweight division viable if the champion is absent. He isn't keen on the idea of holding a "fake belt," but it might be better than nothing.
"Perhaps he vacates the belt, and when he's ready to come back, he gets an immediate title shot and fights the new champion then," Bisping added.
Ultimately, the outspoken middleweight won't be able to do much other than continue to win fights and lobby for a title shot. With Silva reigning over division, he's at the mercy of the champ's timetable.
"He's put us all in this position," Bisping said. "It just sucks for the fans that want to see Anderson fight. It sucks for the fighters that want to fight Anderson for his belt, and it sucks for the UFC, as well."