Boxing star David Haye backs UFC’s Michael Bisping
London, England - British boxing’s most explosive world champion - David Haye - has backed the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top British fighter to follow him to world championship glory.
The big punching “Hayemaker” is a huge fan of the UFC(R) and became friends with Bisping after they met last December at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards. Haye’s endorsement has come as a well-timed boost for Bisping, who fights Canadian Jason Day at the same o2 Arena, London, where Haye unified boxing’s cruiserweight division in such stunning fashion back in February.
Haye said: “Mike is the perfect poster boy for the UFC in the UK. He’s a great mixed martial artist with an exciting style and also a decent, down-to-earth guy with lots of intelligent things to say about his sport. He’s the biggest UFC fighter in the UK and it’s good for the sport in this country to have someone like him at the very top.”
Haye believed Bisping will soon join him as one of Britain’s most elite fighters by winning the UFC’s Middleweight Title from the best fighter in mixed martial arts, Brazilian Anderson Silva.
He said: “Give it a couple more fights and Michael will be competing for a world title against Anderson Silva. A world title fight for Michael Bisping would be huge and I’d be right there by the Octagon to watch it.”
The mutual respect between the two hottest young talents in British combat sports has lead to the pair agreeing to a unique training camp this summer.
Londoner Haye said: “I’ve actually arranged to do some stand-up work with Michael at my camp in Cyprus. Mike’s already a very well-rounded MMA fighter, but we’ve agreed that some pure boxing practice could go down a treat and help him fulfill his goal of becoming the UFC Middleweight Champion.
“And I will also be learning some grappling and clinching techniques from Mike to incorporate into my boxing game. Unlike some other boxers, I know the value of what these guys (UFC fighters) do.”
While Haye is moving up in weight to begin his assault on boxing’s heavyweight division later this year, Bisping has recently moved down a weight class to the UFC’s talent-stacked 185lbs middleweight division.
Bisping said: “I think David will go on and win the world heavyweight title for Britain, and I will be there supporting him all the way. He hits so hard and fast, even heavyweights will go over. Their best bet to beat David is to use any size advantage and try to spoil and lean on him in the clinch. But I will be teaching him some clinching and wrestling techniques I use in the UFC Octagon® which will stop anyone from doing that in the boxing ring.”
The 27-year-old boxing champion has been a follower of the UFC for years, believing boxing could learn from the fastest growing sports organisation in the world.
He said: “The great thing about the UFC, and especially someone like Michael, is that there’s no fear of defeat. These guys in the UFC aren’t afraid to suffer a loss in order to improve and reach their goals. There is no shame in losing to another world class fighter, and UFC fans understand that. In boxing, you’ll find fighters who are brought along in cotton wool and fight a load of tomato cans to build up their record. A defeat is seen as the end of the world in boxing and it often takes years for a fighter to compete in a 50/50 fight whereas all the fights in the UFC are competitive.”
Bisping added: “Actually, David is just like a UFC fighter in his attitude to taking risks in fights. He always wants to fight the best and goes for it from the very first round. He is one of the most exciting boxers to emerge in years and British boxing is very lucky to have a champion like him who isn’t afraid to take risks both in the actual fights as well as by taking the dangerous fights in the first place. It is great to have his support.”
Michael ‘the Count’ Bisping takes on Jason ‘Dooms’ Day as part of the stacked UFC 85: BEDLAM card at London’s o2 Arena Saturday night. The sold-out event will be screened live on Setanta Sport 1 at 8pm.