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It’s not really news to say that Mike Bisping is one of the most widely-hated fighters in the UFC. Something about him really seems to rub up the (mostly american) fans the wrong way. Maybe they just don’t get his sense of humour? His appearance on TUF9 where he came across very brash and cocky didn’t do him any favours either, but I like him. Seems I am in the minority though and in recent months a few UFC fighters have started putting his name about as a fighter they want to face.
Irrespective of his fan popularity, Mike Bisping has earned his stripes in the 185lbs division. In my opinion he can stake a legitimate claim as a top 5 middleweight in the UFC and there is a big crosshair centred on his forehead right now!
Fighters were calling him out prior to his most recent appearance in the octagon. Nate Marquardt was the first to mention him as a possible opponent after his win against Palhares. It was a fight Bisping wanted, but Marqaurdt was matched against Okami and lost that match so is now unlikely to face Bisping who has won three on the bounce now.
In january Anderson Silva said to ESPN that he would love to fight Bisping in the UK A fight I’m sure all UK fans would love too, but not one that is on the immediate horizon methinks.
However since UFC127 and the furore that has surrounded Bispings illegal knee and the spitting incident a few others have joined the fray all clamouring for a fight against the Brit. We can add world-class shit-talker Chael Sonnen and the Phenom Vitor Belfort to that list now. These two fights are VERY possible and would make sense in the grand scheme of the divisions. However I don’t think either of these are a particularly great fight for the Brit in terms of getting another tick in the “w” column, but they are the sort of opponent he needs to face if he wants to get his hands on the title.
From a pure fighting viewpoint, I think Bisping vs Belfort would be a more fan-friendly fight as it would take place mostly on the feet and would almost certainly end within the distance. Obviously it isn’t my job to make fights, but if I were Joe Silva (and Sonnen gets through his impending court case relatively unscathed) I would be booking Chael vs Bisping. Sonnen made his name for shit-talking opponents and after the way Rivera got under Bispings skin it would create a huge hype train for the fight if he copped it both barrells from Sonnen.
Bisping would have an awful lot to do to win either of these fights. Belfort is the far superior boxer and grappler and Bisping would have his hands full there. Against Chael he would be pure wrestle stomped, but I would LOVE to see that fight as the off-chance that Bisping would shut Chael up would be great to see and the fight build up would be great entertainment.
It will definitely be interesting to see what Joe Silva line up for these guys and we could end up with the Bisping vs Okami curve ball. Also Demian Maia is in the mix somewhere there and these are interesting times in the middleweight division. Should GSP beat Jake Shields, move up to 185lbs and then go on to fight and beat Anderson Silva, all bets are off and the division would be thrown wide-open.