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Bisping desperate to fight, up for Belfort if UFC offers
Michael Bisping has told ESPN in an exclusive interview that all rumours of a fight with Vitor Belfort remain exactly that, rumours, but he says he would leap at the chance to fight the Phenom if offered by the UFC.
Talk of a January 19 encounter between Bisping and Belfort has emerged in recent days, although both fighters - as well as Dana White - have all claimed there is nothing official to report.
Bisping is looking for that golden ticket to a UFC middleweight title shot, having beaten Brian Stann in his last outing, and a win over a name like Belfort might prove his final obstacle. However, when ESPN caught up with the Brit, he could only offer his thoughts on a theoretical fight.
"I've heard the rumour myself, but that's all I've heard," Bisping told ESPN.
"If the fight was to happen I'd definitely be up for it. I've got a lot of respect for Vitor, he's a tough fighter. I want to fight for the title and have the best fights possible - and Vitor would definitely be one of them.
"Based on that, if the UFC were to come to me with an offer to fight Vitor, I would be more than up for it. I'd look forward to the challenge."
The more expected bout for Bisping, prior to the Belfort rumours, would be against the winner of Tim Boetsch and Chris Weidman - who meet on December 29 at UFC 155.
Bisping says his safest option would be to fight one of those two men, insisting he's a bad match-up for both of them. However, that would mean waiting until March for his next fight and, having only fought twice in 2012, Bisping wants to return to the Octagon sooner.
"The winner of Boetsch v Weidman is the natural fight and if I was playing it smart, I'd sit on the sidelines and fight one of them," he said.
"I match up really well with both of them. Weidman's stand-up is very very poor, it's not good at all. He's a very good wrestler, very good grappler, but I do well against those guys. I'd get back to my feet and knock him out.
"Boetsch I don't particularly rank at all. He's just a tough bastard! I'd have my way with him all day.
"So if I played it smart I'd wait for them to fight at the end of the year, maybe fight the winner in March/April, but I'm not prepared to do that. This is the way I make a living and I want to fight.
"I want to fight somebody else in the mean time. I'll take my chance. If I win, great. If I lose, I don't deserve a title shot anyway. I want to fight in January or February. I'd like to fight three or four times a year."