Michael Bisping has admitted that Luke Rockhold deserves to face him in a rematch after he defeated him to win the UFC middleweight title at UFC 199 on Saturday.
Bisping, who became the first British champion in UFC history, stunned the UFC community when he knocked out Rockhold in just over three minutes in the first round of their main event bout.
While there was a lot of bad blood between the pair in the lead-up to the fight, Bisping admitted that he has a lot of respect for Rockhold and feels that the 31-year-old should be given a rematch.
“Listen, for everything that’s said and done, I respect Luke a lot. I think he’s a fantastic fighter … I have nothing against the guy. I really don’t,” Bisping told reporters. “He’s an incredible fighter, and I want to thank him for bringing out the best in me. When you’re faced with a challenge like that, you have to rise to a certain level.
“And, I do, I know for all the [expletive], Luke, come on, we’re just two individuals trying to achieve greatness and be at the top of our games. I’m being a little jovial, now, of course, I’m in the best mood ever, so I’m being a little bit silly, but I respect Luke.
“Luke definitely deserves a third fight, let’s be honest. He’s an incredible champion. He’s, pound-for-pound, one of the best in the world. There you go. I did well tonight.”
Prior to the fight on Saturday, Bisping said that it was his destiny to become middleweight champion and while he has accomplished that, Rockhold made it clear that Bisping’s reign as champion would be a short one.
“I think I’ve earned mine, but I’ll do whatever I need to do,” Rockhold said. “It’ll be a short-lived destiny, I promise you.”