Michael Bisping's backing for Wigan UFC fighters
UFC legend Michael Bisping has backed Wigan’s Mike Grundy to bounce back from defeat – and tipped Tom Aspinall as a possible future champion.
Bisping is revered by many fight fans as the only Brit ever to win a UFC title.
And as a proud Lancastrian he has been monitoring the progress Grundy and Aspinall have made since entering the world’s premier MMA competition.
The 42-year-old has been hugely impressed by Atherton heavyweight Aspinall, 28, and reckons he has the potential to go all the way after three successive victories.
“He’s definite future heavyweight champion material,” Bisping told the Wigan Observer. “He’s massive, but he moves like a middleweight, he’s agile, good on his feet, a good wrestler, I think his dad was a black belt in jiu jitsu so he taught him from an early age.
“Often you see heavyweights and they’re big lumbering guys but the speed and the athletic ability aren't there, but Tom is unusual in that sense because he’s got very good technique and athletic ability.
"He’s not just big – heavyweights are all big – but he’s technical and athletic. He’s definitely one to watch for the future.”
Aspinall taught jiu jitsu at Grundy’s Wigan gym and the pair are team-mates at Liverpool’s Team Kaobon, which also has star Darren Till in their stable.
Wiganer Grundy, 34, won his UFC debut in 2019 but a defeat to highly-rated Movsar Evloev on Fight Island last summer was followed by another loss last month.
Yet despite that setback, Bisping says Grundy can be proud of himself after his split-decision featherweight contest loss to Lando Vannata in Houston, Texas.
“Mike’s a tremendous wrestler,” said Bisping, who hails from Clitheroe. “He had a tough outing just recently, but he should still hold his head up high - he had a great fight with Lando Vannata, who’s a tremendous fighter, so there’s no shame in that whatsoever.
"I wish them all the best and I look forward to seeing their journey.”
Bisping started his UFC career as a light-heavyweight but found success at middleweight. His win over Anderson Silva in 2016 was a major highlight. Then an injury to Chris Weidman saw the Englishman step up on only 17 days’ notice to face champion Luke Rockhold, and knocked him out in the first round to win the belt.
He was talking ahead of a return to the north west later this year. He is promising laughs, inspiration and incredible insights as he traces his career during his ‘An Evening with Michael Bisping’ show at Manchester’s O2 Apollo Theatre on October 8. Tickets are available at myticket.co.uk