Michael Bisping, Briton’s first UFC champion, has opened the door to a potential boxing showdown with former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew.
In a move that echoes UFC superstar Conor McGregor swapping the octagon for the ring to take on former pound-for-pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather later this month, Bisping expressed his eagerness for a cross-code bout.
The issue first reared its head when Bellew, who has not fought since beating David Haye in their heavyweight grudge match in March, told Sky Sports: “I can wrestle, I can grapple, I punch hard, I can kick and I’ve got some kickboxing experience.
“If you’re asking if I would get in the cage with a puncher in the UFC? Mike Bisping is a guy who is predominantly known as a puncher and he’s a very strong wrestler as well.”
The 34-year-old clarified his remarks on Twitter, adding: “Just to clear things up.. I didn’t call @bisping out! Im actually a fan of his tbh! They asked “would I fight him” to which I replied “YES”.”
Bisping, 38, responded that he would be happy to box Bellew once he has defended his UFC middleweight title against Georges St-Pierre.
He tweeted: “All good Tony. People twist things. But for the record, after gsp, I’m down to have a boxing match with you 100 percent.”
Bellew replied to his fellow Englishman: “Well it looks and sounds good to me… I’ll provide a knockout to add to my highlight reel.”