Michael Bisping got his wish granted.
After weeks of speculation, UFC President Dana White announced that Michael Bisping will be defending his UFC middleweight title against veteran fighter Dan Henderson, possibly in Manchester, England later this year.
White made the announcement during UFC 200’s post fight show of Fox Sports last Saturday:
— Sherdog.com (@sherdogdotcom) July 11, 2016
No date or event for the bout was mentioned by White.
Bisping was a late replacement for the injured Chris Weidman. He took the title fight on two weeks notice and upset Luke Rockhold with a stunning first round KO in the main event of UFC 199. Following the win, Bisping expressed his desire to defend the title against the 45-year old Henderson, stating personal reasons.
Henderson and Bisping fought each other at UFC 100. Henderson dropped his H-Bomb on Bisping and delivered one of the greatest knockout wins in UFC history. With his name on the wrong end of an all-time highlight reel, Bisping wanted to erase that seemingly lasting memory from the history books.
After Dan Henderson’s win over Hector Lombard on the same UFC 199 event last month, Bisping wasted no time in calling out his UFC 100 tormentor and pleaded his case.
Met With Criticism
Bisping’s move was met with criticism from the top UFC’s middleweights. On top of the list was Chris Weidman, who was supposed to fight Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 but pulled out because of injury. Weidman said that Bisping was taking the easy way out in picking the oldest active fighter in the UFC’s roster.
Then there was Jacare Souza, who told the media that Henderson belonged to the Hall of Fame more than the next Middleweight title bout. Currently, Weidman is ranked #2 and Souza #3, with the erstwhile champion Rockhold at #1. Curiously, Henderson is ranked just 13th. But obviously, those aren’t the numbers Dana White is looking at when he booked this fight.
While Henderson may seem undeserving of the title shot based on rankings, he is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC’s current roster with a big following. His popularity and history with Bisping will make the fight an easy sell, especially in Bisping’s hometown.
Having said that, the Bisping-Henderson rematch will be an easy sell for the UFC. In fact, many fans are already looking forward to watching the rematch between two of the UFC’s most charismatic fighters.