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Sonnen harder than Anderson Silva for Bisping - Pickett
English bantamweight Brad Pickett believes Michael Bisping is doing it the hard way in his pursuit of UFC glory, claiming Chael Sonnen is a more difficult fight for the Brit than champion Anderson Silva.
Bisping is one victory away from a crack at the invincible Silva, but to earn that title shot he must overcome Sonnen. And if Sonnen's last outing against Brian Stann - which he finished by submission - is anything to go by, Bisping had a monumental task on his hands.
Pickett is one of the sport's more educated thinkers, giving plenty of attention to the technical differences in styles between two fighters, and on that basis he believes Sonnen is an even tougher match-up for Bisping than Silva.
"Bisping has been around a long time. It'd be good for England [if he won]," Pickett told ESPN at the launch of UFC Undisputed 3.
"Styles makes fights, that's why I don't think he'll get a title shot because he's facing Chael Sonnen. I think he had more chance of beating Anderson Silva than he does beating Sonnen.
"If he had a different route to Silva, I think there's a good chance he would be the first British UFC champion."
Bisping had originally been scheduled to fight Demian Maia before an injury to Mark Munoz saw the Brit switched to Sonnen, and it seems that change is not one that Pickett favours.
"I like both guys, I'm not that patriotic that, I think 'I'm British, I've got to support every British fighter'. I like Bisping a lot, I think he's a really good guy, but I also like Chael Sonnen.
"I think styles make fights, and if Bisping wants a title shot, I'm not sure Chael Sonnen is the way to go. It's not Bisping's choice [who he fights], but I think Chael Sonnen is a really bad match-up for Bisping.
"A fight's a fight, anything can happen, Bisping's a very skilled fighter. He pulls things out of the bag. Being honest, there's been a couple of times that I've thought Bisping would have a hard time and he's made it look easy. That's credit to his character.
"But he's putting me in that boat again - Chael Sonnen is an incredible athlete. He's very hard to beat with his style and he's focused to get back to a rematch with Anderson Silva. I can't see Bisping winning it, but the best man will win and it could be him."