Bisping: I’ll Fight Romero in the Spring

Middleweight champion Michael Bisping was the most attentive viewer in Madison Square Garden during the pivotal contenders’ matchup between former champ Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero. Though Bisping wished to face Weidman next, Romero’s flying knee knockout rewrote his plans less than thirty seconds into the third round.

Bisping had previously called Romero undeserving of a title shot due to his sketchy history of bending the rules, but he has now changed his tune. On his SiriusXM Rush radio show, the middleweight champion said he plans to take on Romero in the spring.

According to Bisping, though, UFC President Dana White originally wanted him to defend his title at UFC 208 in January.

"So a couple of days ago Dana calls me up… and he’s like ‘Mike, January 20. Anaheim. You vs. Yoel Romero.’ I said well to be honest Dana I’ve been getting injections on my knee. Now I’m not saying no to Yoel because believe it or not, after beating Weidman like that, yeah I do fancy it."

Bisping reiterated that he had been hoping for Weidman to come away from UFC 205 victorious. The two had engaged in a relatively amusing back-and-forth since Bisping won the title from Luke Rockhold in July, and Bisping believed that the buildup to a fight with Weidman would be more entertaining than one with Romero. But when the knee landed, there was no denying the Cuban phenom.

"I was hoping Weidman would win. I always wanted to fight Weidman, more out of respect really. Even though we’ve went back and forth and talked sh-t, I’ve never really had too much against him. It was more kind of a comedy thing from where I was concerned. But I did want to fight him. That said, Yoel beat him and fair enough I guess. In the fight before, even though he tested positive, he beat Jacare, he beat Weidman, and he beat of bunch of no marks before that. So I guess that would be the fight."

Therefore, when White called Bisping to offer the fight with Romero he was not surprised. The timing, however, was too soon for the middleweight champion given his activity in 2016. After his brutal battle with Dan Henderson in October, Bisping was banged-up and in need of some well-deserved recovery time.

"Listen, I’ve had three fights this year. It was only four weeks ago I had a war with Dan Henderson. I want to enjoy Christmas with my family. So January 20 ain’t going to happen. I’m not physically or mentally ready to jump into a training camp right now."

Romero will be one of the most dangerous opponents Bisping has faced in recent years. An athletic specimen with the power to end a fight without warning, Romero has been criticized for bending the rules in many of his fights. After his UFC 194 win against Jacare Souza, he tested positive for a banned substance but eventually copped to a shorter sentence due to a tainted supplement.

"I’ve fought a lot of cheaters of the years and my stance on that stuff is strong as you know, but if that’s the fight that’s gonna go down – I don’t want people to be like, ‘he’s just ducking Romero. He’s ducking Romero’ because that’s not the case at all. I’m not ducking Romero so f*ck it. If that’s the circumstances, that’s the circumstances. But I want very, very stringent testing throughout camp. I want him to be tested pretty much every week on a random day."

"If I go out there and beat Yoel Romero then you can’t deny any of my achievements. There are some assholes still out there who say, ‘he got lucky against Rockhold and he picked on an old guy against Henderson.’ I want to fight the No. 1 contender. I want to."

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