A little over a week removed from his submission loss to Georges St-Pierre – which was preceded by quite a bit of blunt force trauma – former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is already scheduled for another fight. Having stepped in to replace Anderson Silva, who was notified of a potential USADA violation, Bisping is now set to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of the UFC’s debut in Shanghai on November 26.
Speaking to FloCombat just hours after this bout was announced, Bisping explained his choice to step in against Gastelum.
“I can’t see how I cannot take this fight,” Bisping said “I’m serious because the homework is done. I’ve got no injuries, I like to fight and I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth from my last performance. That’s what’s bothering me. The UFC head of legal, Hunter Campbell, he was checking ‘Are you OK, are you OK?’ and physically I’m fine. Mentally, I’m very frustrated.”
“So this gives me a chance to exorcize my demons and get some decent mental space back,” he continued. “Physically, I’m totally fine. Mentally, I’m pissed off. So for me it’s almost a gift from the gods.”
Bisping then explained that, while he was involved in a pretty taxing contest less than two weeks ago, he’s undergone some testing and has been given the physical ‘ok’ by doctors and UFC President Dana White.
“I text [UFC President Dana White] saying ‘I see that Gastelum needs an opponent’ and that I know a guy that fought last week that has no injuries,” Bisping said. “He texts back ‘interesting’ and I said ‘very.’ Then he called me. Obviously he was concerned that I had no injuries or anything like that. I had to do some medical tests or whatever and when he was satisfied, he was like ‘Cool let’s do it.’
“He was over the moon. He couldn’t believe it.”
While Michael Bisping has plenty of respect for Kelvin Gastelum, he’s hoping to use this last-minute fight to return to the win column, and set up a retirement fight in London in March.
“At the end of the day, I respect Kelvin. He’s a great fighter, but it’s nothing about Kelvin. I just, for me, obviously I was upset about how the fight went and I’ve been a bit depressed and this came up and the best way to get rid of that is to just get right back in there.”
“Hopefully I can go out in a couple of weeks and get back in the win column so I can sleep well at night. Plus I can stick a few more dollars in the bank account and then I’ll have my final fight in London in March.”