Michael "The Count" Bisping and Chris Leben headline UFC 89 on Saturday night from The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England. Two days before the scheduled main event, Bisping thinks Leben is confident but is underestimating him.
"He looked confident to be honest," Bisping said following the UFC 89 pre-fight press conference. "I think he's totally underestimating me. I don't think he gives me any respect. He's also said a lot of things that were complete rubbish. He's trying to convince himself saying 'I have no conditioning. I have no chin and no knockout power.' It's just complete nonsense. I think he's confident, but we'll see what happens Saturday night."
"I think he underestimates my overall game to be honest, probably, particularly my ground game. A lot of people seem to underestimate that. I've got a very competent ground game," added the Englishman. "He probably thinks he can take me down without trying and submit me on the ground like I'm some kind of sitting duck. A: He won't be able to take me down. And B: He certainly won't be able to submit me."
Leben commented to MMAWeekly Radio, "The only thing cooler than making 20,000 people scream at once is making them all shut up. That's going to be a nice feeling when I knock Bisping out and that whole arena is dead, stone quiet." He's said similar things to several news outlets leading up to this weekend's event. When questioned about Leben's statements, Bisping said, "I said this to him. I said it's all well and good that he has this little fantasy built up in his head. But, unfortunately, this is the real world. It's not a movie. I don't think he's going to get the chance to live out that little fantasy."
Bisping sees the verbal jabs as Leben trying to bait him into brawling with the heavy handed Hawaii resident. "He keeps going on and on about how I have no punching power, so I think he's trying to get me to go out there and try to knock him out and brawl with him because that's his best chance," stated Bisping. "If I fight a smart, technical fight, I really don't see what he can do to me."
The bout with Leben will be Bisping's third fight as a middleweight after dropping down from the 205-pound light heavyweight division. He's 2-0 as a middleweight and predicts to defeat Leben the same way he did his other two 185-pound opponents, by TKO.