Bisping looks to cement legacy with Henderson victory
Michael “The Count” Bisping has already had a hell of year in 2016.
In February, Bisping beat Anderson Silva, considered by many to be the greatest UFC middleweight champion of all-time, in a back and forth fight for what was at the time the biggest victory of his career. Bisping won via unanimous decision (48–47, 48–47, and 48–47) in his backyard in London at O2 Arena after overcoming major controversy to get the decision. Many felt Bisping was saved by the bell (and referee Herb Dean) in the third round after a flying knee by Silva all but knocked him out right before the round was over.
The fiery Brit topped the Silva victory four months later.
After a injury to former middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman forced him out his rematch with Luke Rockhold, Bisping stepped up with only 17 days notice to face Rockhold for a second time on June 4 at UFC 199.
To everyone’s surprise except himself, Bisping won via knockout in the first round to become the UFC middleweight champion and the first British UFC champion. Bisping caught Rockhold slipping with a barrage of combinations and was also awarded “Performance of the Night” honors to go along with the belt.
The result is considered by many MMA media members as one of the biggest upsets in UFC title fight history, due to Bisping taking the fight on short notice and the fact Rockhold submitted him in their first encounter 18 months earlier.
Fast forward to next weekend at UFC 204 when Bisping gets another rematch, this one seven years in the making against Dan “Hendo” Henderson in his first title defense. Henderson the oldest fighter currently on the UFC roster at 43 years old, will be retiring after the fight no matter the final result.
The fight is very intriguing on paper because the UFC legend is the only person to ever knockout Bisping inside of the Octagon. Henderson’s KO victory over Bisping at UFC 100 is considered one of the best knockouts in UFC history and is on constant loop on UFC highlight reel programs which fires up the current champion to this day.
At the end of the day the next weekend’s main event will be must-see TV for reason and one reason only:
History is on the line.
If Bisping is able to defend his title at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England not only will he get revenge over Henderson for the highlight reel knockout seven years ago, he will have beaten three former world champions who are all future Hall of Famers in an eight-month span, which would all but make him a future Hall of Famer himself and make him a favorite to be the UFC Fighter of the Year in 2016.
Not bad for a guy who needed 35 professional fights to get his first shot at a UFC belt. How much bigger of an exclamation point can one man put to his year and his career with just one win?