Michael Bisping wants to make it clear that he is not ducking Yoel Romero — he just needs a little bit of downtime before he’s ready to face the Cuban middleweight contender in the Octagon.
The UFC 185-pound champion confirmed on SiriusXM’s "The Countdown with Michael Bisping” that he has already had discussions with Dana White about a future bout with Romero. According to Bisping, the UFC President initially suggested UFC 208 on Jan. 21 in Anaheim, Calif.
“I’ve had three fights this year. It was only four weeks ago I had a war with Dan Henderson. I said I want to enjoy Christmas with my family. So Jan.  ain’t gonna happen,” Bisping said. “I’m not physically or mentally ready to jump into a training camp right now. That fight, that date, is nine weeks away. I’d have to start training camp right next week. It’d have to be training camp all the way through Christmas. My family are coming out for Christmas. I’m planning on having down time. I think I’ve earned that. I’ve got a couple injuries that I need to let heal up. He [White] said, ‘OK, when are we looking at?’ I said sometime this spring. Sometime this spring 100 percent, book the fight.
“It’s looking like that’s going to be the fight unless something else transpires in some other situation, but it’s looking like me vs. Yoel sometime in the spring.”
Romero solidified his No. 1 contender status at UFC 205, where he knocked brutally knocked out Chris Weidman with a flying knee in the third round. That was the eighth straight Octagon triumph for “Soldier of God,” although his winning streak has been marred by a failed drug test and occasionally questionable tactics in the cage.
“I always say I’ve never ducked anyone in my life and I never will…I’m not saying no to Yoel, because believe it or not after beating Weidman like that, yeah, I do fancy it,” Bisping said.
“The Count” did admit that he had been looking forward to a possible matchup with Weidman after the two men had developed something of a rivalry in recent months.
“I was hoping Weidman would win. I always wanted to fight Weidman. More out of respect really, even though we went back and forth and talked s—t,” he said. “I never had too much against him. It was more kind of a comedy thing from where I was concerned. But I did want to fight him.
“That said, Yoel beat him fair enough. I guess in the fight before, even though he tested positive, he beat ‘Jacare’…I guess that would be the fight.”