I think he probably does. He’s right up there in the top four or five guys in that weight class. You can split hairs on deciding who the No. 1 contender is. He’s coming off a great outing against Jason Miller, weathered a storm and had the conditioning and great technique to finish the fight well. He’s one of the top guys so why not?
Those were the words that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture recently told ESPN UK about British middleweight fighter Michael “The Count” Bisping.
A fighter that most fans love to hate, the 32-year-old Bisping will soon face Demian Maia in a bout that will position as second in line to challenge for the UFC middleweight title. Some have scoffed at the idea that Bisping would get a title shot, but when you look at the current layout of the middleweight division you see that, aside from Mark Muñoz, Bisping is the only top-tier fighter who hasn’t already been beaten by UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
The two men that most have been clamoring to see face The Spider, Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, have already had their chances and failed. Though they did well with Silva early on (Sonnen much more so than Henderson), both men eventually succumbed to defeat by submission.
Light heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Bisping has posted a professional record of 22-3, his only losses being a close decision to current top 205lbs. contender and former champ Rashad Evans, a brutal knockout to Dan Henderson and a unanimous decision to Wanderlei Silva – hardly fighters to scoff at. Balance that with the fact that he’s riding a four-fight winning streak and owns victories over the likes of Chris Leben, Denis Kang, Dan Miller, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Jason “Mayhem” Miller, and you have a fighter with a more legitimate case for a title shot than most are giving him credit for.
Bisping would rightfully be considered an underdog against Silva and would probably end up on the losing end, but then again, that’s how pretty much everyone stacks up against The Spider. Love him or hate him, give The Count his due.