Michael Bisping has the opportunity to be crowned UFC middleweight champion at UFC 199 on Saturday. The only thing standing in his way is the champion, Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold won the title when he knocked out Chris Weidman in the fourth round of their intense bout at UFC 194 on December 12.
Rockhold was initially supposed to face Weidman in a rematch, but the former champion withdrew from the fight after suffering a neck injury, for which he is scheduled to undergo surgery for.
Bisping was subsequently called up as Weidman’s replacement and while most people expect Rockhold to get the better of the 37-year-old once again, the UFC is always full of surprises and perhaps on Saturday, one of the biggest upsets of the year could happen.
Bisping is one of the most senior fighters in the UFC today and he has faced everyone from Chael Sonnen to Anderson Silva.
Furthermore, the Briton is currently heading into his 36th MMA fight, while this will be Rockhold’s 18th. This gives Bisping a huge advantage in the experience field as he has gone up against a plethora of fighters who have tasted a lot of success in the UFC.
While Rockhold himself is no pushover, he cannot boast the same amount of experience as Bisping and it could be this factor that tips the balance in Bisping’s favour when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday.
2. It may be Bisping’s one and only chance
Bisping will know that this matchup against Rockhold could be his sole chance to do something he has never done before, win a UFC title.
The 37-year-old has been involved in two middleweight title eliminators in his career, but lost both, with the first coming against Dan Henderson in 2009 and the second against Sonnen in 2012.
With Bisping having been granted the opportunity to actually fight for the title, even though it came on short notice, there is no doubt that he will do whatever it takes to ensure he walks out of UFC 199 with the title belt around his waist.
3. Avenge his loss to Rockhold
In November 2014, Rockhold needed just under six minutes to make Bisping submit in their main event bout at UFC Fight Night 55.
While the loss will haunt Bisping heading into the rematch, he can also draw inspiration from it as he will look to avoid being beaten again at any cost.
Furthermore, Bisping is on a three-fight winning streak heading into the bout, which includes a unanimous decision win over former UFC middleweight champion Silva at UFC Fight Night 84 in February this year.
With the Briton having bested arguably the greatest middleweight champion in UFC history, there is no reason why he cannot beat Rockhold and claim the prize that has eluded him for his entire career.