It has been confirmed that Michael Bisping’s first title defence will be against Dan Henderson, but why is the middleweight champion insistent on facing the veteran?
For Bisping, getting another shot at Henderson has been on his list of things to do for a while now as Henderson got the better of him the last time they met.
In July 2009, Bisping and Henderson faced each other in a middleweight title eliminator at UFC 100 and it was the 45-year-old Henderson who emerged victorious by a knockout in the second round.
While Bisping has chosen Henderson in order to settle a score, a number of fighters in the division, including Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and Ronaldo Souza have taken aim at the Briton for choosing an easier opponent instead of fighting them.
Despite coming under fire, Bisping stood by decision to fight Henderson. It is understood that the UFC are planning to hold the bout in Manchester in October.
“The ‘easy’ fight from the guy that knocked me out in 2009, which is the most memorable knockout in UFC history,” Bisping said during the UFC Fight Night broadcast on FS1 on Wednesday night. “The knockout of which is still emblazoned on Dan Henderson’s shorts and banners and everything. Every time I go on Twitter and somebody wants to talk trash, they send an image of me laid unconscious.
“Why did I choose a rematch for this fight? I don’t get it, I don’t understand. Why would I want to avenge the most devastating knockout in UFC history? I just don’t know why I would do that.”
Bisping also made it clear that this could be his only opportunity for redemption as Henderson is set to retire after the rematch.
Should Bisping triumph over Henderson, he will then focus his attention on the growing line of contenders that are knocking on his door.
“Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Jacare — they’re going nowhere,” Bisping said. “Dan Henderson is on the verge of retiring.
“He said one more fight so Dan Henderson put your big-boy pants on, fly over to Manchester and I’ll see you in the Octagon, my friend.”