Michael Bisping: Cung Le Is a ‘Phony’ Trying to Build His Movie-Star Brand

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 19, 2014
Michael Bisping hopes to make Cung Le “disappear again back to B-movies.” | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Michael Bisping is not impressed by Cung Le’s Hollywood connections.

The outspoken British middleweight, who faces Le in the UFC Fight Night headliner in Macau on Saturday, believes the Sanshou specialist is only fighting to help raise his profile.

“Listen, Cung Le is basically back in the UFC to boost his brand and remind everybody of his existence,” Bisping said in a UFC release. “He hasn’t fought in a couple of years, so I’m guessing his profile has dipped. He’s probably not getting too many embarrassing kung-fu movie offers right now -- and probably worst of all for him -- Channing Tatum has stopped retweeting him.”

Le appeared with Tatum in the 2009 action flick “Fighting.” All told, Le boasts roles in 13 moves, according to his IMDb.com profile. The former Strikeforce 185-pound ruler hasn’t fought since November 2012, when he knocked Rich Franklin cold with a counter right hook at UFC on Fuel TV 6.

Although Le described that fight as the biggest win of his MMA career, “The Count” doesn’t think his opponent has much to offer him.

“I’m going to put a beating on him, and he can disappear again back to B-movies. I have to close the distance on him, because he needs space to generate power in those fancy kicks of his. He’s got nothing at close range; everything is at a distance for him,” Bisping said.

“And, at 42, he’s got no gas in the tank. He’s got four minutes or so in him -- then he’s absolutely knackered. This is a five-round fight, and he’s 42 years old and hasn’t fought in two years. He had no gas in his first UFC fight three years ago, so he’s not going to be in better shape now.”

Following an eight-fight stint in Strikeforce, Le debuted in the Octagon at UFC 139, where he was stopped by Wanderlei Silva in the second round. He rebounded with a decision triumph over Patrick Cote at UFC 148 before the aforementioned signature triumph against Franklin.

Bisping, meanwhile, made his promotional return in April following a year-long layoff due to multiple surgeries for a detached retina. His performance left plenty to be desired, however, as he was grounded repeatedly in a five-round loss to Tim Kennedy at the “TUF: Nations” finale.

The Manchester, England, native has now lost three of his last five UFC bouts. As someone who was at one time perpetually on the brink of middleweight title contention, the 35-year-old recognizes that dream could be fading.

“This is a must-win fight for me. I have to prove to the UFC, I have to prove to the fans and I have to prove to myself that I’m still an elite fighter who can go on, get some wins over contenders, and fight for the UFC title,” Bisping said. “My last fight against Tim Kennedy sucked -- it was the worst performance of my life. Kennedy had a game plan to hold me down, and he executed that game plan well. In hindsight, I should never have accepted a fight just seven weeks after getting cleared to return to the gym after my eye injury.”

Bisping had the chance to meet Le at a press conference in Macao to promote their fight. While things were relatively pleasant at that event, “The Count” took offense to some things Le said later during a fan Q&A on UFC.com.

“I exchanged all the pleasantries, gave him all the small talk as you are supposed to in these situations, and I even went as far as pretending to be absolutely blown away that he’s apparently friends with Channing Tatum,” Bisping said. “Basically, I went out of my way to be nice to him, and everything was very civil. We promoted the fight, shook hands and went back home to train for the fight.

“Then I see him on UFC.com doing a Fight Club Q&A, and he’s talking a load of bollocks about me. Basically, he’s jumped on the same old, boring bandwagon everyone else who fights me does -- which is to say what a smack talker I am while, as always, they are the ones who talk crap first. What a phony. If he had a problem with me then he could have spared me all the boring anecdotes about Channing Tatum.”

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