Sunday, May 30, 2010 | 3:14 a.m.
One of the loudest fighters in the UFC is quietly building his case for a future title shot.
Fighting in front of a hostile crowd Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Michael Bisping delivered a dominant performance over Dan Miller in the co-main event of UFC 114.
The British middleweight picked apart his opponent on the feet and was taken down only once en route to a unanimous decision.
Many were surprised that Miller elected to keep the fight standing rather than take it to the ground. While Bisping admitted Miller’s strategy puzzled him as well, he made it clear that the result would have been the same no matter what his opponent had tried.
“I thought he was trying to lure me into a false sense of security,” Bisping said. “But I was staying out of the way of takedowns, constantly changing angles and not giving him the opportunity to do that.
“I’ve done jiu-jitsu as well. I went to the world championship in New Zealand when I was 16-years-old for jiu-jitsu. A lot of people don’t know these things.”
The night was nearly perfect for Bisping, however, he did express frustration at the fact he wasn’t able to finish Miller at some point.
After starting off his professional career with 13 consecutive stoppage wins, Bisping has finished just one of his last five opponents.
Bisping attributes the lack of finishes to a conservative stance he developed after having to face a string of wrestlers earlier in his career.
“If you go speak to my Thai coach or my sparring partners, believe me, I hit with power,” Bisping said. “Lately, I think what it was, was a I fought a lot of wrestlers back-to-back and subconsciously I started fighting on my back foot. Obviously, you don’t generate as much power doing that.
“I would like to retrain myself to not do that, move forward and plant my foot. I was looking to knock him out tonight but he was very durable.”
The win improved Bisping’s record to 19-3, including a 9-3 mark in the UFC. His only losses have all come to former UFC or Pride champions: Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans.
Because his losses are to such high-quality opponents, Bisping said although he knows he still has momentum to gain before earning a title shot, he believes he’s already toward the top of the division.
“I hold my head pretty high as to where I am in the middleweight division,” Bisping said. “The only losses I have on my record are to former champions.
“I want to be the first Englishman to win the title. I was the first Englishman to win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and I want to be the first to win a title.”
While Bisping has already been close to earning a title shot before, he’s probably never been as ready to capitalize on one as he is right now.
The 31-year-old fighter has seemingly improved with each fight. According to Bisping, changes to strategies on weight management and not over-training in camps have made a big difference in his performances during fights.
His team at Wolfslair in the United Kingdom is becoming one of the most recognized MMA camps in the world.
If there was ever a time to go on a run, it’s now.
“It sounds cliché, but I want to fight the best guy out there,” Bisping said. “I feel like some of the guys I fought in the past, maybe it was too soon. But I’m starting to mature as a fighter and now I’m ready for those guys. I feel like it’s my time.”
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.