Former UFC champion Michael Bisping will always have his podcast co-hosts back, but that doesn't mean he won't be honest with Smith about his fight-related decisions.
In December Smith accepted a short-notice fight against a dangerous, lower-ranked opponent, Khalil Rountree. That fight, which many thought he shouldn't have taken, was a gamble that didn't pay off for Smith. He was knocked out in the third round.
Bisping got real with Smith, who had opened up about the "dark place" he went to after the fight.
“I’m happy to hear that you still want to fight, but if you want to fight, you’ve got to be a little more meticulous about it, if you don’t mind me saying,” Bisping said. “I’ll be honest: I said it when we watched the fight on the live (broadcast), and I didn’t want to go into it because it’s like I was betraying you or whatever. I hated it. I was on a walk – I think it was Thanksgiving day when I got the message – and I found out you were fighting. I hated it."
“I f*cking hated it. I didn’t understand it. You’re a fighter, 100 percent, and you’ve got balls of steel. You’re like, ‘F*ck it, let’s go. I can do this.’ I think with the trend lately of people stepping up on short notice, Tom Aspinall going out there and doing it, and Volkanovski stepping up," Bisping said. "All right, he lost. But it’s been kind of a thing, people stepping up on short notice. You only really do that when there’s something worth risking it for. I did it, but that was a title fight. I didn’t understand it because you gained nothing from that.”
In the future, Bisping urged Smith to make his decisions with more mindfulness.
“You’ve just got to be more professional with it, as you say, in between camps with your weight and stuff like that leading up to fights and just making the correct choices,” Bisping said. “I would love to see you fight on a full camp against Khalil – and we can’t take away from Khalil’s performance. He did tremendous. But the purpose of a fight camp is not only to get you in shape, it’s to get you mentally ready, as well.”