Michael Bisping will be looking to fulfill a lifelong dream when he takes on Luke Rockhold, for the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 199 on Saturday.
Rockhold was originally carded to fight former champion Chris Weidman, but Weidman was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Upon hearing of Weidman's injury in May, Bisping contacted UFC president Dana White and asked to be put on the card.
The fight will be Bisping's first shot at a UFC belt, and he had this to say about the opportunity: “I’ve worked a lifetime for this, So two days, two weeks, two months, I really don’t care."
“I’m just happy. I’m relieved. I’ve been at it so long. I know the words are cheesy, but I do believe this is my destiny. When I was eight years old and I first put gloves on, I knew I’d be champion one day, and I’ve worked tirelessly to get here. This is a lifetime’s work. I’m not here by accident.”
The 37-year-old has certainly been around the block, and for a long time in his career his goal had been to beat long-time champion Anderson Silva. He finally got an opportunity to face the Brazilian fighter in February, albeit not for the title, and won by unanimous decision to put himself on the brink of his first ever title shot.
This has left Bisping with mixed feelings about the upcoming bout: “I wanted to fight Anderson Silva my entire career, I always wanted to fight him."
"He was the longtime champion and the guy I looked up to and aspired to beat. That was a personal goal I wanted to achieve."
"I don’t think about this (expletive) to my right. I haven’t thought about him in years. He’s not a guy I longed to fight. Yes, I want to be the champion, but on Saturday there is no opponent. It’s about me fulfilling my dream.”
Bisping has won his last three fights, with his last defeat coming at the hands of Rockhold in 2014, when he was forced to tap out after the American locked him into a guillotine choke.
Bisping will be looking to avenge this defeat and fulfill his dream of winning the UFC Middleweight Championship.