Michael Bisping has revealed that he is eager to have his first middleweight title defence take place in the United Kingdom.
The Lancashire fighter became Britain’s first-ever UFC champion on Saturday when he knocked out Luke Rockhold in the first round of their bout at UFC 199.
With Bisping having been crowned champion in his maiden title fight, he is already thinking about defending his middleweight title on home soil at the end of the year.
“They are capable of creating slots whenever the time fits. There will be a slot happening soon,” he told Sky Sports. “It won’t be December.
“I think the fact that I’m now a UK champion, a lot more slots will open.
“I have had conversations with [UFC president] Dana White and [co-owner] Lorenzo Fertitta and said I’d like to fight in the UK for my first defence. Dana said ‘we’ll see’. Whatever that means, we don’t know.
“I’m keeping my cards close to my chest. I don’t know who it will be against, I haven’t got any names.”
Meanwhile, Bisping made it clear that Rockhold should be made to earn his next title shot rather than receiving a rematch straight away.
“There’s no point doing that straight away,” Bisping said. “When Luke beat me, I had to go away and beat three fighters to earn a chance at redemption. He can do the same thing.
“Certainly his actions after the fight – if he had been more respectful I would have been more inclined but he didn’t help his cause.
“I’m sure between me and the UFC, we’ll come up with the right person. Of course, as the champion I do have influence. But I’ve never turned anybody down and I don’t intend to start doing that as champion.”