Like many in the MMA world, Michael Bisping found it rather surprising to see Erick Silva labeled a 2-to-1 favorite over Matt Brown this weekend at UFC Fight Night 40 from Cincinnati.
Bisping, who will be working the analyst table for FOX Sports during the event, talked with FightLine recently about the welterweight main event.
“Shocking to be honest,” Bisping said, of the odds. “I feel like Matt Brown is perhaps underrated and not getting the credit he deserves. Erick Silva has a big reputation, a strong skill set as a dynamic striker and great on the ground with excellent takedown defense, but Matt Brown as the underdog, I feel he is being overlooked a little bit and I am sure he is taking it in.”
Brown (18-11) has worked his way into a possible future contender match by winning six straight in the division. Just three years ago, he was stuck in a 1-4 slump that almost led to his exit from the UFC.
“It just goes to show that having the right mind set in this sport (is important),” Bisping said. “A lot of it is mental. Perhaps (Brown’s) mental side of things was lacking and that is why he was inconsistent; he would win, lose, lost three in a row at one point, but now he is on a six-fight win streak.
“And a six-fight win streak is impressive in the welterweight division. He has a good team around him and is riding high with confidence.”
Bisping believes that confidence is what has allowed him to forget the past and become the fighter he is today.
“The best way to fight is with confidence,” he said. “If you are confident going into fights, that is the biggest asset you can have. He fights with so much confidence and believes in his abilities.”
With Johny Hendricks holding the welterweight title, but stuck on the sidelines recovering from surgery for a torn bicep, the division has a chance to shake itself out and produce a No. 1 contender. Brown and Silva know this is a great opportunity for them to capitalize on the main event role and television spotlight.
“What I see is an exciting fight (happening Saturday night),” Bisping said. “Matt Brown, right now, is one of the most exciting fighters in the welterweight division. He has a win streak, is getting stoppage wins and always comes forward.
“Erick Silva is kind of the same way. He looked fantastic in his last fight (a first round win over Takenori Soto that moved his record to 16-4 overall). He has a diverse striking game and this has all the makings of an excellent fight.”
Bisping previously offered up his thoughts on the co-main event for the show, which features Lorenz Larkin and Costas Philippou.