According to the man Bisping beat to take the middleweight title, Luke Rockhold, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’
Rockhold took care of business with a second-round submission of David Branch in their UFC Pittsburgh main event on Saturday.
That win represented the first for Rockhold since beating Chris Weidman in 2015 to take the coveted UFC middleweight championship. The 32-year-old immediately turned his attention to returning legend Georges St-Pierre, who will take on current middleweight champion Michael Bisping in UFC 217’s main event at Madison Square Garden in November.
Bisping, the man who shocked many including Rockhold at UFC 199 to take his title, has not refrained from criticizing the Brit in the past. Taking one step further, the Californian had some pretty disparaging words for Bisping and his title reign thus far:
“I think it’s the worst in UFC history,” Rockhold said on Wednesday’s edition of the FS1 show UFC Tonight. “No one has ever gotten that treatment, no one has avoided all the top contenders. He was supposed to fight Jacare, he avoided that, he was supposed to fight Yoel, he avoided that, and somehow he’s getting away from this fight Whittaker. He found Dan Henderson, the No. 14th ranked at the time, and now he’s going for GSP. He hasn’t done anything.“
Rockhold also claimed that both interim champion Robert Whittaker and perennial contender Yoel Romero are tougher opponents than Bisping:
“That would be Robert Whittaker, that would be the real champion, that’s the man who is fighting all the guys,” Rockhold. “We’ll see what his timetable is, of course, obviously a third option is Yoel Romero.”
Rockhold also showed no surprise when Bisping suggested that he’ll retire after the GSP fight:
“I’m going to put myself in position. He’s going to have a choice. Either he stands and fights like a man, or he runs. And we all know what he’s doing. He’s ran from the start and it looks like he’s going to run to the finish.”
As for Bisping, he is still enjoying the platform which being a UFC champion has afforded him since beating Rockhold. On a recent edition of his Believe You Me podcast, the UFC middleweight champion turned his attention to Daniel Cormier and his reaction to the latest Jon Jones scandal:
“Listen, I really like Daniel Cormier, he’s a great guy, but that was me mockingly throwing up there. It’s like, come on, man. DC, say what’s on your mind because that isn’t what’s on your mind. What’s on your mind is, ‘Jon go f**k yourself, you f**king prick.’
“I like DC. DC’s a standup guy and God bless him, maybe – well, he’s not a better human being than me. That’s what I was going to say, maybe he’s a better human being than me. No, he’s not but maybe he has more sympathy for his opponent than I do because that’s not what I would have said. If someone f**king tests positive and kicks me in the head and knocks me out and takes my belt in front of the world, I’m not going to bang on about compassion. I’m gonna say, ‘You’re a piece of s**t and you’ve got no place being in the sport.’ Especially after testing positive before and all the other things that happened.”
Bisping, along with Mark Hunt, are possibly the two biggest critics of performance-enhancing drugs in MMA. Having been on the back of a loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100, a loss which he attributed to Henderson’s use of TRT, Bisping lashed out once again at Jones:
“The thing is, you’ve got to remember in that fight, DC was winning that fight. I thought DC won the first round and again I thought DC was winning it and then that head kick changed everything and that head kick wouldn’t have been delivered with the speed or ferocity had steroids not been involved. Now of course, like DC said, due process need to take its course but the writing on the wall is that he was on steroids and that kick wouldn’t have been as strong had steroids not been involved. Therefore, he was cheating, he knocked him out, he embarrassed him, he took his belt, he beat him up in front of the world, who knows if that’s gonna have a lasting effect on his body? So I’m sorry. Good for you Daniel Cormier but I wouldn’t say that. I’d be saying, ‘Screw this guy. Screw this guy.’
“DC doesn’t know what the lasting effects of being knocked out like that are gonna be. This isn’t a game. It isn’t a game and you don’t get knocked out and all of the sudden come back around and everything be the same again. It has a lasting effect on your brain. That substance inside your skull gets bounced around like crazy and damage is done to your brain. That’s why you see these fighters years later slurring their words, forgetting things, GSP saying he’s been abducted by aliens, because it’s real. It really happens and I would not be defending Jon Jones right now.”
Bisping faces Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 on November 4th in Madison Square Garden.