- UFC 152
Respectful Bisping says Stann is intimidated
Michael Bisping is convinced Brian Stann is feeling intimidated ahead Saturday's UFC 152 showdown, and the Brit says he has every right to be as the best ever version of Michael Bisping prepares to enter the Octagon.
Stann and Bisping have been highly respectful of each other in the build-up to the weekend, but whereas the Brit has still taken the odd chance for trash talk - saying he'll "mince Stann like burger meat", the American has preferred to highlight all the strengths that his rival possesses.
Indeed, Stann has referred to Bisping as one of the biggest names in the UFC, building his rival up to be the favourite in the fight. In Bisping's eyes, his opponent clearly knows that he might lose.
"I think Stann is intimidated," he told ESPN. He's bigging me up, saying 'Mike's good at this, he's good at that'.
"He's also saying he thinks I might have underestimated him. That's wrong, I don't underestimate anyone. That's not the way I've been training. But it's my fight to lose."
Bisping has as much respect for Stann as any fighter he has ever faced. Any bold or confident comment is instantly checked by an acknowledgement of his rival's qualities - ensuring he is not misunderstood to be trashing the American. However, when it comes to breaking down the fight, Bisping simply knows he has the tools to win in Toronto.
"The camp's gone fantastic. I've been ready to fight for the past couple of weeks, so I've just been spending that time getting better, fine tuning. Physically, mentally, technically, I've never been in better shape. We'll see what Brian Stann's got.
"He's got decent punching power and a solid leg kick. Other than that, there's not much I'm worried about. It's not like I haven't fought anybody who throws big punches before.
"I've got the speed advantage on him. But I'm not under-estimating him, I'm not taking him lightly, it'll be a tough fight. He's got an iron will and he'll come in great shape, but I'm the more well-rounded fighter."
Bisping has previously questioned Stann's ground skills, stating that Chael Sonnen made him look like a jiu-jitsu white belt. As a result, it has been suggested that the Brit might try to take Stann to the mat on Saturday - although Bisping predicts the opposite.
"I know Brian's worked with some wrestlers, he's a physically very strong guy, and I actually think he'll try and take me down. His last fight with Alessio Sakara, he knocked the guy out with ground and pound so maybe he fancies himself in that department.
"But the fight starts on the feet, I've worked hard on my boxing, and then if the opportunity comes for the takedown, I'll take it. I'm going to mix it up, I'll keep him guessing, one minute I'll be punching him in the face the next I'll be taking him down - he won't know which is coming.
"[Jason] Miller's gameplan was to take me down, Sonnen's gameplan was to take me down, so in this camp I haven't had to spend hours and hours with guys on top of me, trying to smother me. It's been nice!
"I've worked on my boxing, my striking, my offence... it's all about offence in this one. My gameplan - not his. I've just done four five-minute rounds with some good guys and completely dominated every minute of every round. I'll do the same to him."