It is safe to say that he endeared himself to many others when he stepped up to fill the Anderson Silva shaped hole against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Shanghai with just a few weeks turnaround.
Bisping has been a polarizing figure among supporters due to his brash attitude and relentless trash talk aimed at opponents over the years, which was compounded once he won the UFC middleweight title in 2016. The Englishman has explained why it is ‘very refreshing’ to adopt a different approach to his pre-fight publicity in his upcoming bout against Gastelum (via MMAjunkie):
“It’s very refreshing not to be doing it,” Bisping said. “It’s so nice, it is, because what am I gonna do? No one’s gonna pay attention, anyway. You can’t build anything. Maybe if we had a whole thing (for) a couple of months and we did interviews. Because that’s how it happens, I see him, he says something, and I respond, and before you know it, it builds. (There) hasn’t been time for that.”
“Kelvin’s a great guy. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Kelvin. This isn’t on pay-per-view – I’m not trying to sell pay-per-views or any of that. Kelvin seems like a very, very nice guy – apart from the fact he does a little bit too much pouting on Instagram. Other than that, he seems like a lovely guy.”
With no title on the line, Bisping claims that he is fighting ‘for the sake of fighting’ but will still bring his A-game to the party:
“If I fight the way I can fight, I can beat Kelvin,” Bisping said. “He’s had some good wins, but we’ll see what happens. It’s hard under those bright lights. In the gym, I’m a different man, and I didn’t show up (against Georges St-Pierre) because I wanted to remain champion so much. Now, it’s not about that. Now, I don’t even feel any pressure, I’m just gonna go out there and fight my fight.”
“I’m not the champion anymore, I’m just taking fights for the sake of fighting,” he added. “Does that mean I want to win? My god, I will fight to the death to try to win, I will never quit. But if I lose, f—k it.”