UFC: Bisping calls for Henderson rematch
Michael Bisping is a man on a mission. As his date with destiny and the formidable Brian Stann approaches we hear from “The Count” and find out which loss haunts him the most. We also discover who has been bending Dana White’s ear about one Chael P. Sonnen and question the wisdom of Vitor Belfort’s jump to 205lbs to lock horns with Nike’s new poster boy Jon Jones…
Michael Bisping is the most recognisable, successful British MMA fighter there has been since the creation of the UFC almost two decades ago. He has been the veritable face of UK mixed martial arts for years but one thing has eluded him. It is of course that one night all top tier athletes crave, the opportunity to compete for a world title at the summit of their chosen sport. Bisping has been close on a couple of occasions but no cigar, namely contender contests against the two pillars of Team Quest, Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. Speaking to UFC Insider this week, the always vocal 33 year old was typically candid regarding his aspirations as he enters the twilight of an eventful career.
“The fight I want to have again is Dan Henderson. That’s the one that haunts me… It’s what drives me, it’s why I’m here today. If I could get the opportunity to fight him, I would relish that opportunity”
The loss to Henderson clearly doesn’t sit well with Bisping and whether he gets another crack at the light heavyweight contender remains to be seen. It is the fire which the loss has fuelled in Bisping which intrigues me however. A proud and dedicated athlete, meticulous in his preparation and fearless in his application Bisping I believe will get his title shot and I think it will come following a win over the always dangerous Stann next month in Toronto. Unlike some of “The Count’s” former foes Stann doesn’t underestimate Bisping. He will however only realise just how difficult Bisping is to overpower and cleanly tag once the Octagon gate slams shut. The fires of ambition still burn brightly for Bisping despite his obvious success and the considerable wealth which accompanies it. He clearly will not be content until he at least contests the middleweight strap and a victory over a “name” like Stann may just be the win which makes that happen. Whilst we will of course preview the UFC 152 bout in the coming weeks click here for my profile of Bisping nemesis Dan “Hendo” Henderson. Now thats one rematch I’d really like to see…
Jones seeks help in silencing Sonnen
Chael Sonnen is not everyone’s cup of tea. One could only imagine how it feels when he sets his trolling sights firmly on you especially via social media. It has been a tough few weeks for UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and conceivably the last thing the image conscious New Yorker needed was attention from the man who makes Joey Barton appear shy and retiring. Sonnen of course poured it on “Bones” with a series of barbs about the 25 year old’s recent brush with the law and failure to meet him in the Octagon at UFC 151, a decision which may or may not have lead to the cancellation of the entire event, depending on who you talk to.
According to “The Wrestling Observer” Jones contacted UFC President Dana White to ask him to intervene and ask Sonnen to stop the twitter onslaught. Jones may be becoming rather too occupied with his public persona and does appear to be under the proverbial cosh. The public backlash to the UFC 151 debacle coupled with the pressure of being Nike’s latest “face” brings added pressure outside of the actual fighting aspect. How this pressure affects the UFC’s biggest star in his performance against the frightening speed of Vitor Belfort on 22nd September remains to be seen. Belfort of course isn’t under nearly the same pressure as arguably the biggest fight of his career approaches. Whilst Belfort grasped the title shot with the enthusiasm of a spotty teenager taking the local beauty queen on a first date will it transpire to be a sound decision?
Fundamentally Belfort has very little to lose. Following his devastating defeat to Anderson Silva back at UFC 126 Belfort has been in the hazy zone often described by Dana White as “in the mix” and without a stand-out finish in his next couple of outings could have stagnated at 185lbs. By taking a fight where he is broadly expected to battle manfully but eventually be eclipsed by the bigger, stronger more well rounded fighter, Belfort is not only taking an educated gamble on his own ability but also significantly raising his profile against one of the UFC’s biggest PPV draws. All round a no lose scenario for the remaining member of the old guard of the organisation’s formative years. For more on the fallout from Jones’ and Lyoto Machida’s fight refusals click here.
England star calls out Brock Lesnar
With Dana White sounding out a hypothetical Fedor Emelianenko versus Brock Lesnar superfight on “The Underground” this week Saracens and England rugby star Matt Stevens thought he too would get in on the act and offer Lesnar a return bout following his latest WWE stint. Stevens who walks around at 260lbs has competed nationally in ju-jitsu and this week trained with UFC Nottingham’s John Maguire prior to the kick off of the Premiership season.
Stevens’ tongue in cheek call-out named Lesnar as the man he’d most like to share a cage with. Ricky Hatton once said that if you found Lesnar in bed with your wife that you’d “tuck him in”… perhaps Stevens feels better equipped to take on Minnesota’s finest…
Finally this week a shameless plug for my interview with the one and only Lorenzo Fertitia. India is one market which Fertitia and Zuffa have big plans for. I found Fertitia to be genuinely engaging and passionate about mixed martial arts. An astute businessman the University of San Diego graduate spoke frankly about the challenges and roadmap which lie ahead in the world’s second largest country. Click here to read his interview with me for The Times of India.
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