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17th Jan 2018

At least we know who Michael Bisping *won’t* be fighting at UFC London

The fight that fans wanted to see won't be happening

Darragh Murphy

Who’s it going to be then?

The narrative was perfect once Uriah Hall was declared medically unfit to take to the Octagon for Vitor Belfort’s retirement fight last weekend.

With Hall out, Belfort’s final bout was pushed further into 2018 and, in the minds of most logical fans, set up the ideal rematch with Michael Bisping.

Fiercer rivals in the sport of mixed martial arts simply don’t exist.

Belfort famously caused Bisping’s detached retina with a roundhouse kick five years ago and the chance for the Brit to claim vengeance in his homeland with what would represent the final fight for both men resulted in several calls for Bisping vs. Belfort II to be booked for UFC London in March.

But ‘The Count’ has dismissed those suggestions in no uncertain terms as he took to his podcast, Believe You Me, to insist that he has no interest in making the Belfort fight his swansong.

“I’m not fighting Vitor Belfort in London,” said Bisping. “I’m not fighting Vitor Belfort in London. I am no fighting Vitor Belfort in London. 100 percent, I’m not fighting him. Zero percent chance.”

Having lost his middleweight title to the returning Georges St-Pierre last November, Bisping courageously offered to step in on late notice and fight Kelvin Gastelum in China just three weeks later but was knocked out in brutal fashion, resulting in consecutive defeats for Bisping for the first time in his 14-year fight career.

The 38-year-old had maintained that he’d wanted to hang up his gloves in his native England on March 17 but after hinting that he may not bother returning for one more outing, he explained why he definitely wouldn’t be fighting Belfort.

“I may or may not have one more fight,” Bisping said. “So here’s the thing. I don’t like Vitor Belfort.

“People looking at this video are probably saying, ‘Look at his eye, he’s a f**king mess.’ It is part of the reason why I never wanted to do a video podcast before, because my eye is a mess and it was Vitor Belfort that did it and he was roided out of his mind.

“He’s a known drug cheat. I don’t like the guy. I find him to be a hypocrite. It’s his last fight and he’s probably going to juice like crazy again anyway because who gives a f**k. ‘Oooh, I failed. So what? Retired. Done. Gone.’”