Michael Bisping vs. Joseph Benavidez: Genuine bad blood or weight class prejudice?

By Al Stover

UFC middleweight Michael “the Count” Bisping is known for engaging in trash talk before his fights.

Although he has taken some shots at UFC 152 opponent Brian Stann, Bisping’s attention has focused on another direction: Joseph Benavidez.

Benavidez, who is scheduled to face Demetrious Johnson to determine the first UFC Flyweight champion, shot a video blog with training partner Urijah Faber in which he said he could punch harder than Bisping.

In an interview with MMAJunkie.com Radio, The Count responded on twitter by criticizing Benavidez’s size.

“That smug-faced little {} in a prepubescent boy’s body needs to shut the {} up because I’ll take the Pepsi Challenge with that short-ass any day of the week.”

However this is not the first time Bisping has put down the flyweight division.

The Benavidez vs. Johnson fight had been the original UFC 152 main event before the Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort light heavyweight title match.

Back in June on Fuel TV, Bisping said that his fight with Stann was the “real main event” as opposed to the flyweight title match.

“This is the real main event. Two big hard hitting guys. No one cares about little flyweights, this is the real main event, this is the real big fight, tune in cause someone’s getting knocked out, ain’t going to be me though.”

At the UFC 152 on-sale press conference, Benavidez was asked his thoughts on Bisping’s comment. Benavidez said it was ridiculous, but that it was also typical Bisping. Bisping interrupted with his own words about fighting in the UFC while Benavidez was a “glint in his dad’s eye.”

Benavidez continued about him and Johnson making history at UFC 152.

“So everyone that supports us, thanks and we love you. Everyone that doesn’t, including Bisping, I think you soon will and you’ll be excited for this.”

If this were the old days of Pride or the UFC, fans might get to see an open weight fight between Bisping and Benavidez or any other flyweight, bantamweight or featherweight who has taken offense to the Count’s words.

However, with modern rules being the way they are, any fighter below 155 pounds who wants to shut Bisping’s mouth will either have to bulk up to middleweight or impress him enough to chance his views on smaller fighters.

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