Gegard Mousasi says ‘life is easier’ in Bellator after being ‘small fish’ in UFC

With limited sponsorship and a stable of superstars in need of individual treatment, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is beginning to find it difficult to hold onto every one of its assets.

After seeing notable Octagon names like Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, and Josh Thompson leave the promotion behind in 2016, UFC has witnessed other premier fighters like Ryan Bader, Roy Nelson, and Gegard Mousasi jump to Bellator MMA this year.

Mousasi, 32, will make his debut at Bellator 185 on Oct. 20 against Alexander Shlemenko after signing a six-fight deal with the promotion back in July. Like most of his fellow UFC veterans currently competing under the Bellator banner, Mousasi is enjoying the new experience.

“Life is easier,” Mousasi told MMAjunkie. “I was able to bring my friends also into Bellator. The treatment that I’m getting is great. I feel Bellator has space to grow, not only with me, but also as a company.

“I was a small fish in the UFC. I’m a big fish in Bellator. That’s why I want to do my part to grow with Bellator. There’s a connection that I don’t have with UFC. It’s a company, like a factory. With Bellator, it’s more that I’m part of the family, and I’m doing the best I can to grow with the family.”

The disconnection between Mousasi and UFC shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just hours after announcing his contract signing with Bellator earlier this year, the former Strikeforce champion took direct aim at UFC and blasted its partnership with Reebok. It wasn’t the first time Mousasi publicly challenged UFC and probably won’t be the last.

“I was treated well in the UFC because I got the opportunity to get where I am now,” Mousasi said. “But, if I was to criticize them, I think the fairness of payment or the fairness of getting a title shot, it’s too much about the name of the fighter and who they feel they can build as a star as opposed to who is the best fighter. There are issues. Before the belt I’d have to fight probably Luke Rockhold, I would have fought Yoel Romero because (Robert) Whittaker is next. It would have made my road so difficult to get to the top. Some get an easy road.

“They give the fighters they like matchups suited for them so they can keep winning. They’ll probably do (Conor) McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3. Why? Because McGregor has a good shot of winning. They’re not going to make a fight with Khabib (Nurmagomedov) or Tony (Ferguson) because it’s bad for the promotion. Those things, you feel as a fighter. I’m not making things up. It’s frustrating. I had to take the hard road. That’s what I feel.”

After winning five-straight fights in the UFC’s middleweight division, including knockouts over former champions Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort, Mousasi didn’t know if he was ever going to get a title shot, which led to his decision to sign with Bellator. It’s an understandable move to make, especially considering the UFC’s 185-pound crop is currently being hijacked by a superfight between champion Michael Bisping and former UFC welterweight king Georges St-Pierre.

With new land to travel and new opponents to overthrow, Mousasi now feels like he’s able to do whatever he wants to do. That sort of freedom is hard to come by in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, but Bellator is offering veterans like Mousasi the opportunity to branch out.

“That’s one of the great things about Bellator is I have the freedom to decide and do whatever I feel,” Mousasi said. “I have more freedom. It’s a lot more easy-going. Scott [Coker] bringing me into Bellator, I want to have a good impression. I don’t want to let anyone down. I’ve come to get the belt. I have to beat (Shlemenko)m and I have to beat him decisively. I have to make a statement.”

With limited sponsorship and a stable of superstars in need of individual treatment, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is beginning to find it difficult to hold onto every one of its assets.

After seeing notable Octagon names like Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, and Josh Thompson leave the promotion behind in 2016, UFC has witnessed other premier fighters like Ryan Bader, Roy Nelson, and Gegard Mousasi jump to Bellator MMA this year.

Mousasi, 32, will make his debut at Bellator 185 on Oct. 20 against Alexander Shlemenko after signing a six-fight deal with the promotion back in July. Like most of his fellow UFC veterans currently competing under the Bellator banner, Mousasi is enjoying the new experience.

“Life is easier,” Mousasi told MMAjunkie. “I was able to bring my friends also into Bellator. The treatment that I’m getting is great. I feel Bellator has space to grow, not only with me, but also as a company.

“I was a small fish in the UFC. I’m a big fish in Bellator. That’s why I want to do my part to grow with Bellator. There’s a connection that I don’t have with UFC. It’s a company, like a factory. With Bellator, it’s more that I’m part of the family, and I’m doing the best I can to grow with the family.”

The disconnection between Mousasi and UFC shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just hours after announcing his contract signing with Bellator earlier this year, the former Strikeforce champion took direct aim at UFC and blasted its partnership with Reebok. It wasn’t the first time Mousasi publicly challenged UFC and probably won’t be the last.

“I was treated well in the UFC because I got the opportunity to get where I am now,” Mousasi said. “But, if I was to criticize them, I think the fairness of payment or the fairness of getting a title shot, it’s too much about the name of the fighter and who they feel they can build as a star as opposed to who is the best fighter. There are issues. Before the belt I’d have to fight probably Luke Rockhold, I would have fought Yoel Romero because (Robert) Whittaker is next. It would have made my road so difficult to get to the top. Some get an easy road.

“They give the fighters they like matchups suited for them so they can keep winning. They’ll probably do (Conor) McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3. Why? Because McGregor has a good shot of winning. They’re not going to make a fight with Khabib (Nurmagomedov) or Tony (Ferguson) because it’s bad for the promotion. Those things, you feel as a fighter. I’m not making things up. It’s frustrating. I had to take the hard road. That’s what I feel.”

After winning five-straight fights in the UFC’s middleweight division, including knockouts over former champions Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort, Mousasi didn’t know if he was ever going to get a title shot, which led to his decision to sign with Bellator. It’s an understandable move to make, especially considering the UFC’s 185-pound crop is currently being hijacked by a superfight between champion Michael Bisping and former UFC welterweight king Georges St-Pierre.

With new land to travel and new opponents to overthrow, Mousasi now feels like he’s able to do whatever he wants to do. That sort of freedom is hard to come by in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, but Bellator is offering veterans like Mousasi the opportunity to branch out.

“That’s one of the great things about Bellator is I have the freedom to decide and do whatever I feel,” Mousasi said. “I have more freedom. It’s a lot more easy-going. Scott [Coker] bringing me into Bellator, I want to have a good impression. I don’t want to let anyone down. I’ve come to get the belt. I have to beat (Shlemenko)m and I have to beat him decisively. I have to make a statement.”

Daniel Cormier says Tony Ferguson will get ‘turned into a baby deer’ against Conor McGregor

Now that Tony Ferguson disposed of Kevin Lee earlier this month at UFC 216 to claim the interim UFC lightweight title, “El Cucuy” can officially set his sights on the elusive Conor McGregor.

While “Notorious” has multiple options on the table for his long-awaited return to the Octagon, Ferguson has done more than enough over the past two years to lock down a title unification bout with the UFC’s biggest star. But that doesn’t mean Ferguson will be able to handle McGregor once the two lightweights get locked inside of the cage.

According to UFC light heavyweight champion and FOX analyst Daniel Cormier, “El Cucuy” would be out of his element against a superior striker like McGregor.

“I think he’s really good. I think his cardio and pace are fantastic. I believe he makes some mistakes that would really cost him against Conor,” Cormier said during a recent episode of Talk and Talker podcast. “Oh my goodness, do you see how high he’s holding his chin up when he’s throwing punches. You do that against McGregor, you’re getting sniped. You’re getting sniped!”

As a fighter who often gives up his chin to land a shot of his own it would be interesting to see how durable Ferguson remains if he gets clipped by “Notorious.” The interim champ has never been finished by strikes in his entire 26-fight career, but McGregor is known to flatten the unstoppable.

“When Conor hits you with a clean shot, it doesn’t affect people like most people’s big shots affect people. It sends you f*ckng skating on ice,” Cormier said. “It turns you into a baby deer, when they can’t stand up and they’re f*ckng shaking and sh*t.

“You just can’t let him hit you like that, but I think because of the way Tony fights, he kinda hangs his chin up there. That’ll make it so dangerous for him because McGregor is so accurate, so fast.”

At this point, Ferguson would be lucky enough to land an extremely lucrative title fight opposite McGregor, let alone walk through the lightweight champion’s best shots. However, Ferguson’s erratic and unpredictable style still makes him one of the worst matchups in the division for McGregor, and leaves “El Cucuy” as the front-runner to welcome the Irishman back to the mix.

Now that Tony Ferguson disposed of Kevin Lee earlier this month at UFC 216 to claim the interim UFC lightweight title, “El Cucuy” can officially set his sights on the elusive Conor McGregor.

While “Notorious” has multiple options on the table for his long-awaited return to the Octagon, Ferguson has done more than enough over the past two years to lock down a title unification bout with the UFC’s biggest star. But that doesn’t mean Ferguson will be able to handle McGregor once the two lightweights get locked inside of the cage.

According to UFC light heavyweight champion and FOX analyst Daniel Cormier, “El Cucuy” would be out of his element against a superior striker like McGregor.

“I think he’s really good. I think his cardio and pace are fantastic. I believe he makes some mistakes that would really cost him against Conor,” Cormier said during a recent episode of Talk and Talker podcast. “Oh my goodness, do you see how high he’s holding his chin up when he’s throwing punches. You do that against McGregor, you’re getting sniped. You’re getting sniped!”

As a fighter who often gives up his chin to land a shot of his own it would be interesting to see how durable Ferguson remains if he gets clipped by “Notorious.” The interim champ has never been finished by strikes in his entire 26-fight career, but McGregor is known to flatten the unstoppable.

“When Conor hits you with a clean shot, it doesn’t affect people like most people’s big shots affect people. It sends you f*ckng skating on ice,” Cormier said. “It turns you into a baby deer, when they can’t stand up and they’re f*ckng shaking and sh*t.

“You just can’t let him hit you like that, but I think because of the way Tony fights, he kinda hangs his chin up there. That’ll make it so dangerous for him because McGregor is so accurate, so fast.”

At this point, Ferguson would be lucky enough to land an extremely lucrative title fight opposite McGregor, let alone walk through the lightweight champion’s best shots. However, Ferguson’s erratic and unpredictable style still makes him one of the worst matchups in the division for McGregor, and leaves “El Cucuy” as the front-runner to welcome the Irishman back to the mix.

Henry Cejudo talks escape from California wildfires: ‘It’s a crazy feeling knowing you may die’

Former UFC flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo literally had to walk through flames earlier this week when escaping the wildfires attacking Northern California, putting his upcoming battle with Sergio Pettis at UFC 218 in doubt.

Luckily, despite initial reports that Cejudo broke his ankle while jumping from a second-story window, the flyweight contender only suffered minor burns on his foot. Cejudo did lose his Olympic gold medal in the fire, but that is a minor detail when it comes to a life-or-death situation.

In a recent interview with ESPN.com, Cejudo took some time to discuss his escape from from the wildfires. After ignoring an early-morning fire alarm he woke up hours later to a room full of smoke. From that point on, the details get pretty terrifying.

“I pulled the curtain on the window and it felt like daylight it was so bright,” Cejudo said. “There were houses on fire. The hotel was on fire. I could feel the heat.

“I saw the lobby was on fire and knew there was a stairwell to get down there. I thought, ‘If I go out into the hallway and lock myself out, then I really am dead.’ There was only one way out.”

Once Cejudo decided that jumping out of his two-story hotel window was the best possible option he wasted little time getting to safety. Unfortunately, after landing on a fiery branch and burning the bottom of his foot, Cejudo found himself in a post-apocalyptic world.

“I was deserted,” Cejudo said. “I didn’t see one human being. I didn’t see one cat, dog — nothing. The only noise I heard was the fire.

“As I’m walking up this hill to get a bird’s-eye view of everything, I see two-story mansions on fire. I saw buildings and cars on fire. It was surreal, like a dream. I had no shoes, no time to grab anything but my slacks. I’m walking, barefoot, thinking, ‘Damn, I’m literally in a ring of fire.'”

The 30-year-old was able to escape the entire ordeal with limited injury, but couldn’t save his Olympic gold medal. However, considering Cejudo could have died if he made the wrong decision when escaping his room, the loss of the medal doesn’t really matter in the long run.

“People ask me if I’m sad about it — nah, I’m happy, bro,” Cejudo said. “It’s weird because that type of adrenaline, you’re scared but you’re challenged, too. You become courageous in something like that. It’s a crazy feeling knowing you may die.”

As of now, Cejudo will still fight Pettis at UFC 218 on Dec. 2. That event, which will air live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich., will be headlined by a featherweight title fight between current champion Max Holloway and former UFC lightweight king Frankie Edgar.

Former UFC flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo literally had to walk through flames earlier this week when escaping the wildfires attacking Northern California, putting his upcoming battle with Sergio Pettis at UFC 218 in doubt.

Luckily, despite initial reports that Cejudo broke his ankle while jumping from a second-story window, the flyweight contender only suffered minor burns on his foot. Cejudo did lose his Olympic gold medal in the fire, but that is a minor detail when it comes to a life-or-death situation.

In a recent interview with ESPN.com, Cejudo took some time to discuss his escape from from the wildfires. After ignoring an early-morning fire alarm he woke up hours later to a room full of smoke. From that point on, the details get pretty terrifying.

“I pulled the curtain on the window and it felt like daylight it was so bright,” Cejudo said. “There were houses on fire. The hotel was on fire. I could feel the heat.

“I saw the lobby was on fire and knew there was a stairwell to get down there. I thought, ‘If I go out into the hallway and lock myself out, then I really am dead.’ There was only one way out.”

Once Cejudo decided that jumping out of his two-story hotel window was the best possible option he wasted little time getting to safety. Unfortunately, after landing on a fiery branch and burning the bottom of his foot, Cejudo found himself in a post-apocalyptic world.

“I was deserted,” Cejudo said. “I didn’t see one human being. I didn’t see one cat, dog — nothing. The only noise I heard was the fire.

“As I’m walking up this hill to get a bird’s-eye view of everything, I see two-story mansions on fire. I saw buildings and cars on fire. It was surreal, like a dream. I had no shoes, no time to grab anything but my slacks. I’m walking, barefoot, thinking, ‘Damn, I’m literally in a ring of fire.'”

The 30-year-old was able to escape the entire ordeal with limited injury, but couldn’t save his Olympic gold medal. However, considering Cejudo could have died if he made the wrong decision when escaping his room, the loss of the medal doesn’t really matter in the long run.

“People ask me if I’m sad about it — nah, I’m happy, bro,” Cejudo said. “It’s weird because that type of adrenaline, you’re scared but you’re challenged, too. You become courageous in something like that. It’s a crazy feeling knowing you may die.”

As of now, Cejudo will still fight Pettis at UFC 218 on Dec. 2. That event, which will air live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich., will be headlined by a featherweight title fight between current champion Max Holloway and former UFC lightweight king Frankie Edgar.

Michael Bisping says Georges St-Pierre will ‘hide from fighting’ at UFC 217 in New York City

The return of the almighty Georges St-Pierre is almost upon us, as the former UFC welterweight champion will meet current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Considering GSP hasn’t competed inside of the Octagon since defeating Johny Hendricks back in 2013, fight fans don’t really know what to expect from the Canadian in his return. While so much has been put into St-Pierre training alongside boxing coach Freddie Roach to improve his standup game, Bisping is counting on GSP doing the same thing he always does when the two meet next month..

“You’re going to waste all your energy trying to take me down,” Bisping said during a UFC 217 press conference yesterday (Fri., Oct. 13, 2017) in Toronto (full video replay here). “See, when you wrestle, that’s you trying to hide from fighting. I don’t hide from fighting. And Georges is going to have to fight me.”

If Bisping’s rundown is accurate then GSP has been “hiding from fighting” his entire career. The fact of the matter is that St-Pierre is the greatest welterweight to ever compete in mixed martial arts (MMA). His UFC track record is legendary and the reason why he’s going to jump right back into the PPV driver’s seat four years after unexpectedly walking away from the sport.

That said, St-Pierre hasn’t finished a fight since defeating B.J. Penn via TKO back in 2009. After putting an end to “Prodigy,” GSP won his next seven Octagon appearances all by decision. So if Bisping has anything to hang his hat on it’s that he’s more inclined to put St-Pierre away at UFC 217.

“Listen, here’s the thing. I don’t doubt you’ve been working on other things because that’s what we do as martial artists, but at the end of the day you can’t reinvent the wheel,” Bisping said. “The fundamentals are still the same, the same kicks, the same punches, the same submissions. What? Have you invented a new submission I’ve never seen before? A kick I’ve never seen? What exactly are you going to do?

“You’re going to jab, jab, double leg, bore everybody to sleep. I, on the other side, am going to try and knock you out.”

If St-Pierre is successfully able to move up to middleweight and dethrone Bisping at UFC 217 then he’ll be contractually forced to defend the 185-pound crown next year. But if St-Pierre’s new adjustments aren’t enough to get past the finish-hungry Bisping then the former UFC welterweight king may have to go back to his old stomping grounds.

For more UFC 217 fight card news click here.

The return of the almighty Georges St-Pierre is almost upon us, as the former UFC welterweight champion will meet current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Considering GSP hasn’t competed inside of the Octagon since defeating Johny Hendricks back in 2013, fight fans don’t really know what to expect from the Canadian in his return. While so much has been put into St-Pierre training alongside boxing coach Freddie Roach to improve his standup game, Bisping is counting on GSP doing the same thing he always does when the two meet next month..

“You’re going to waste all your energy trying to take me down,” Bisping said during a UFC 217 press conference yesterday (Fri., Oct. 13, 2017) in Toronto (full video replay here). “See, when you wrestle, that’s you trying to hide from fighting. I don’t hide from fighting. And Georges is going to have to fight me.”

If Bisping’s rundown is accurate then GSP has been “hiding from fighting” his entire career. The fact of the matter is that St-Pierre is the greatest welterweight to ever compete in mixed martial arts (MMA). His UFC track record is legendary and the reason why he’s going to jump right back into the PPV driver’s seat four years after unexpectedly walking away from the sport.

That said, St-Pierre hasn’t finished a fight since defeating B.J. Penn via TKO back in 2009. After putting an end to “Prodigy,” GSP won his next seven Octagon appearances all by decision. So if Bisping has anything to hang his hat on it’s that he’s more inclined to put St-Pierre away at UFC 217.

“Listen, here’s the thing. I don’t doubt you’ve been working on other things because that’s what we do as martial artists, but at the end of the day you can’t reinvent the wheel,” Bisping said. “The fundamentals are still the same, the same kicks, the same punches, the same submissions. What? Have you invented a new submission I’ve never seen before? A kick I’ve never seen? What exactly are you going to do?

“You’re going to jab, jab, double leg, bore everybody to sleep. I, on the other side, am going to try and knock you out.”

If St-Pierre is successfully able to move up to middleweight and dethrone Bisping at UFC 217 then he’ll be contractually forced to defend the 185-pound crown next year. But if St-Pierre’s new adjustments aren’t enough to get past the finish-hungry Bisping then the former UFC welterweight king may have to go back to his old stomping grounds.

For more UFC 217 fight card news click here.

Dominick Cruz treating Jimmie Rivera like a title fight – ‘Healthy me doesn’t lose to anybody in the world’

Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will compete in just his second non-title fight since 2009 when he takes on rising contender Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 135-pound bout will go down exactly one year after Cruz lost his bantamweight strap to current champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207.

Just because Cruz is competing against Rivera in a thee-round affair with zero title implications doesn’t mean the former UFC champ isn’t going to fight like a belt is on the line.

“We don’t make near as much money — we don’t get paid near the same — unless we fight for the belt,” Cruz said in a recent interview with ESPN.com. “It doesn’t matter, though. Jimmie Rivera, to me, is the title fight. This is how I’ve approached every fight until now: The person they put in front of me is the title. That’s it.”

Cruz, 32, has lost just once since getting choked out by Urijah Faber under the WEC banner back in 2007. His track record is impeccable, and the reason why Cruz remains one victory away from fighting for another UFC title.

“I just have to be me, man,” Cruz said. “Me being me doesn’t lose to Jimmie Rivera. But more importantly, a healthy me doesn’t lose to anybody in the world.”

If Cruz is able to get past Rivera in dominant fashion this December then he’ll most likely take on the winner of Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw, which is scheduled to go down next month at UFC 217 in New York City. Either fighter would be a tremendous rematch for Cruz as the former champion makes his journey back to a third UFC title shot.

For more UFC 219 fight card news click here.

Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will compete in just his second non-title fight since 2009 when he takes on rising contender Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 135-pound bout will go down exactly one year after Cruz lost his bantamweight strap to current champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207.

Just because Cruz is competing against Rivera in a thee-round affair with zero title implications doesn’t mean the former UFC champ isn’t going to fight like a belt is on the line.

“We don’t make near as much money — we don’t get paid near the same — unless we fight for the belt,” Cruz said in a recent interview with ESPN.com. “It doesn’t matter, though. Jimmie Rivera, to me, is the title fight. This is how I’ve approached every fight until now: The person they put in front of me is the title. That’s it.”

Cruz, 32, has lost just once since getting choked out by Urijah Faber under the WEC banner back in 2007. His track record is impeccable, and the reason why Cruz remains one victory away from fighting for another UFC title.

“I just have to be me, man,” Cruz said. “Me being me doesn’t lose to Jimmie Rivera. But more importantly, a healthy me doesn’t lose to anybody in the world.”

If Cruz is able to get past Rivera in dominant fashion this December then he’ll most likely take on the winner of Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw, which is scheduled to go down next month at UFC 217 in New York City. Either fighter would be a tremendous rematch for Cruz as the former champion makes his journey back to a third UFC title shot.

For more UFC 219 fight card news click here.

Video: Michael Bisping, Georges St-Pierre verbally clash after UFC 217 press conference – ‘I’ll break your f*cking jaw’

The bad blood is really beginning to boil between UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre. As the two mainstream stars gear up for their main event scrap at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, the animosity between both men is undeniable, even behind the scenes.

Following UFC 217’s press conference earlier today (Fri., Oct. 13, 2017) in Toronto (full video replay here), Bisping and St-Pierre got into a very intense verbal clash off stage. The action can be seen above courtesy of TMZ Sports.

“If you put your hands on a man, that means you got a f*cking problem,” Bisping said in response to GSP touching him during the press conference staredown. “Keep your f*cking hands to yourself, pal. I will knock you f*cking out right now.”

It didn’t take long for St-Pierre, who has been slowly gaining confidence on the microphone, to respond with his own onslaught.

“I’m not afraid of you, I don’t give a damn,” GSP said. “I will break you, man. I will break you. … Touch me again, I’m gonna break you.”

When was the last time you heard St-Pierre drop the F-bomb? Maybe never, which is an indication that Bisping may be getting under the Canadian’s skin entering their high stakes superfight at UFC 217.

“You little f*cking nerd,” Bisping said. “Look at you, look at the state of you. You don’t do f*ck all, man. You won’t do a f*cking thing. I’ll break your f*cking jaw.

“Don’t try and act tough, because it doesn’t suit you. You look stupid.”

Luckily for fight fans, this verbal battle will spill over into the Octagon in just a matter of three weeks. If St-Pierre is going to have any chance to move up to 185 pounds and defeat Bisping after a four-year hiatus he’s going to have to check his emotions at the door.

If he doesn’t, and continues to get wrapped up in these verbal altercations with the champion, St-Pierre may be in serious trouble come fight time.

For more UFC 217 fight card news click here.

The bad blood is really beginning to boil between UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre. As the two mainstream stars gear up for their main event scrap at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, the animosity between both men is undeniable, even behind the scenes.

Following UFC 217’s press conference earlier today (Fri., Oct. 13, 2017) in Toronto (full video replay here), Bisping and St-Pierre got into a very intense verbal clash off stage. The action can be seen above courtesy of TMZ Sports.

“If you put your hands on a man, that means you got a f*cking problem,” Bisping said in response to GSP touching him during the press conference staredown. “Keep your f*cking hands to yourself, pal. I will knock you f*cking out right now.”

It didn’t take long for St-Pierre, who has been slowly gaining confidence on the microphone, to respond with his own onslaught.

“I’m not afraid of you, I don’t give a damn,” GSP said. “I will break you, man. I will break you. … Touch me again, I’m gonna break you.”

When was the last time you heard St-Pierre drop the F-bomb? Maybe never, which is an indication that Bisping may be getting under the Canadian’s skin entering their high stakes superfight at UFC 217.

“You little f*cking nerd,” Bisping said. “Look at you, look at the state of you. You don’t do f*ck all, man. You won’t do a f*cking thing. I’ll break your f*cking jaw.

“Don’t try and act tough, because it doesn’t suit you. You look stupid.”

Luckily for fight fans, this verbal battle will spill over into the Octagon in just a matter of three weeks. If St-Pierre is going to have any chance to move up to 185 pounds and defeat Bisping after a four-year hiatus he’s going to have to check his emotions at the door.

If he doesn’t, and continues to get wrapped up in these verbal altercations with the champion, St-Pierre may be in serious trouble come fight time.

For more UFC 217 fight card news click here.