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Hatton hails Bisping for rise in UFC interest
12:20pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Sport
BOXING legend Ricky Hatton believes Clitheroe’s Michael Bisping can continue to spearhead the growth of UFC in Britain.
Hatton will be at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester to watch Bisping’s UFC bout with Mark Munoz on October 26, and admits the East Lancashire fighter’s progress has sparked his interest in the sport in recent times.
Bisping is one of UFC’s biggest names but is more widely recognised in the United States than in England because of the sport’s popularity on the other side of the Atlantic.
Hatton, though, thinks UFC will continue to grow in this country while Bisping is involved in high profile fights.
“I’ve always been a fan of Michael Bisping,” Hatton said.
“I was more of a Michael Bisping fan than a UFC fan to be honest because he’s only from down the road, he’s a north west lad.
“He’s a really nice guy. What you see is what you get, he’s a local lad done good and down to earth. That’s right up my street.
“Following Michael I’ve got more and more into UFC.
“I will be going to the show next month and I’m sure he will do the business.
“You look at where UFC has come from - it wasn’t long ago that they were putting shows on in front of a few hundred people.
“Now you can put on an event at the arena and it shows how far UFC has come. A lot of it is down to Michael.
“UFC is massive in America and it’s taking a little bit more time to get established over here.
“But boxing has got another contender breathing down its neck.”
Hatton admits his love for boxing means he has never tried his hand at UFC.
“I know a lot of boxers have considered it and have never done too well with it,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are with your fists, once these guys grab you and get you down on the mat it’s a different story.
“My fighting was all body punches and at close quarters so you never know, I like to think I could have been pretty good at it.
“But I think I’ll stick to my own game!”
* Michael Bisping takes on Mark Munoz at The Phones 4U Arena in Manchester on October 26. Tickets for UFC® MANCHESTER 2013: BISPING v MUNOZ are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.phones4uarena.co.uk
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