While Chael Sonnen and Mark Muñoz will be battling it out this January at UFC on Fox 2 to determine the next challenger to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s belt, Michael Bisping and Demian Maia will fight it out to figure out who falls in line after that.
For Bisping, a win would provide him the opportunity to finally challenge for UFC gold for the first time in his six-year promotional tenure, something that was worth it to the Brit to jump right back on the horse after beating down Jason “Mayhem” Miller earlier this month at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale.
“It is a huge honor to fight on American national television on Fox,” said Bisping. “Going straight back into camp, missing Christmas, none of that even entered my mind. I want to earn my way to a title shot and fighting a former No. 1 challenger as dangerous as Maia is exactly the opportunity I have been hoping for. This is the most crucial fight of my life.”
For Maia, another shot at Silva would allow him to make up for the embarrassing and notorious tilt that the two put on at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi last year. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace is excited for that possibility and also to face Bisping, a decorated fighter for whom he holds much respect.
“I think Michael Bisping is a great fighter and will be one of the hardest fights I ever had,” Maia said. “Some people underrate him, but I think I can never underestimate him. I consider him one of the top contenders at middleweight. He is someone with only three losses in over 20 fights, with one of those losses coming to Rashad in a higher weight class. It shows how tough he is and the challenge that is ahead of me. I’m also very excited to be fighting in Chicago for the first time, a city where I spent part of some of my last training camps, and where I have a lot of friends. If that was not enough, on top of all that, fighting on Fox is a huge opportunity.”
Bisping and Maia are set to do battle at UFC on Fox 2 this coming January 28 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.