UFC 152's Michael Bisping Vows To 'Strangle' Joseph Benavidez And His 'Munchkin' Crew

SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Michael Bisping of England speaks during a Press Conference ahead of UFC 127 at Star City on February 23 2011 in Sydney Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

It started at the UFC 152 press conference on July 23, 2012.

At the time, the headliner for the event was set to be the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) first-ever flyweight title fight between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson, while Michael Bisping's middleweight clash against Brian Stann was set to co-headline the card.

At the press conference, "The Count" took a slight jab at the main event between the two flyweights, stating that his bout against "The All American" should be the headliner rather than the diminutive, albeit historic, 125-pound clash. The two proceeded to go back-and-forth, lightheartedly, of course.

With light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort now filling the main event slot, everyone took a step down, which means the 125-pound title fight is now the co-headliner and Bisping vs. Stann will get third billing.

However, that hasn't stopped "The Count" and "Joe B-Wan Kenobi" from taking shots at one another and it appears that the rivalry between the two has taken a turn for the worse, as it seems the ‘beef' between the two UFC stars is getting serious, or is it?

You be the judge as we breakdown the brewing rivalry between 125-pounder speedster Benavidez and brash middleweight bruiser, Bisping, after the jump:

In his UFC 152 Fighter Diary, Benavidez' Team Alpha Male stable mate, Urijah Faber, asked him if he felt he hit harder than Bisping as the two were watching a UFC promo video which included Bisping, to which Joseph replied:

"Yes, I hit harder than Bisping."

Apparently, that didn't sit too well with "The Count," who responded to the comment to reporters in Los Angeles, California (via MMA Fighting):

"At the pre-fight press conference, you know, I had a line saying my fight was the real main event. I wasn't talking [the flyweight] fight down, I was just bigging my fight up. They took it a little bit disrespectfully, so they took a couple swipes at me at the press conference. And it was all good fun. They tweet out this video, and Urijah Faber, or ‘Urijah Favor' as I call him -- because I mean, really, how many title shots can one guy get? -- says to them, look at this, that's Bisping. Do you think you can hit harder than Bisping? Joseph Benavidez says, yeah, I definitely hit harder than Bisping. It really, I mean, he's the size of my leg. If you're going to talk shit about me and the UFC is going to tweet it out, I'm going to address that. UFC has 776,000 followers, which I know because I looked it up. So I put, listen, Urijah Favor, Joseph Benavidez, and the rest of the munchkin crew, don't talk [expletive] just because you're stuck in the bodies of pre-pubescent boys. Urijah said, ‘Mike, I thought we were friends, you can give it but you can't take it." I said, "What do you mean? You've been giving it, you said he can hit harder than me, which we all know you can't. So that's what's going on with Team Alpha Male. I'll [expletive] strangle him when I see him this time."

Bisping went on to tone it down he realized a UFC official was sitting next to him:

"Sorry, I don't think I should be talking (expletive)vabout the 125 pounders. It's going to be awesome."

Benavidez' response via his official Twitter account:

Wow didn't think a big, tough, secure guy like @bisping would get all butt hurt at my blog. Pretty funny.

Of course, given the fact the the two combatants are separated by four weight classes, a bout between the two will never happen, but that doesn't stop either of them from taking jabs at one another any possible chance they get.

How about it Maniacs, is this all just a little light-hearted fun between two colleagues? Or are things escalating out of control?

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