Michael Bisping fought so hard and for so long to get a title shot that it became A Thing. To Bisping was to get almost there but not quite. The fighter also had a reputation for not hitting hard enough to end a fight, for having pillow fists.
Then Chris Weidman’s neck injuries worsened, and with 17 days before the All American’s rematch with new champion Luke Rockhold, The Count got the call. He was in the middle of shooting a movie in Toronto.
In his public statements, Rockhold was alternately smug, blase, and angry with the new opponent, promising a KO in the second round. He looked dismissive in cage pre fight, and fought with his chin a little high … #ANDNEW!
Post fight in cage Rockhold spoke with color commentator with quiet regret, acknowledging he did not take his opponent seriously. By the post fight press conference, the quiet regret had turning into something else entirely.
“God. That guy is such a d***,” said Rockhold, as transcribed by Hunter A. Homistek for MMA Fighting. “I mean, you show your true colors after a fight, and that f***ing guy comes up to me like, ‘Do you know where you are?’ Like, I f***ing picked you up off the canvas and gave you respect [when Rockhold beat Bisping at UFC Fight Night 55]. That guy is a piece of s***, and I want to f***ing come kill him next time around.
“He’s just a maggot. Coming to me and saying it like that, those are his true colors.”
“I believe I had control of that fight from the beginning. I just overcommitted, and he caught me. Bisping’s a tough dude. I’ve always said it. He’s a warrior, and he’ll hang in there. Obviously I didn’t respect him enough. I was overcommitting. I tried something I normally don’t do. I usually don’t commit with the jab. I take my time, and I work my way in. I got caught, and I guess destiny is real, but it’s not going to last very long, because I will have my belt back..
“You got lucky. You got lucky. Bisping, I will come back and f***ing kill you. You enjoy your short-lived destiny, my friend. Mark my words.”
“I guarantee you, you give me that rematch, I will put this man away. I will respect him more, but I will put him away – just like I did the first time… I feel like I’m still the best in the game, and I will prove that any time. And I will be back – right here – with the belt back in front of me.
“If I go out there and I fight my fight, this man can’t compete with me. I’ll prove that any time. I will be back.”
“Bisping’s a di*k, but he’s a warrior, he’s tough, and he’s going to hang in there. I gave him an opportunity, and he made the most of it. Give me an opportunity, and it will be the end of it. I think I’ve earned mine, but I will do what I have to do, but it will be a short-lived destiny.”
Bisping’s first title shot is not known. Rockhold does not make much sense after an ending that definitive. Further, Bisping can sell fights far better than can Rockhold, so management will not be angling for a rematch from a business perspective. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza makes sense. And for the recovering Chris Weidman, a rematch with Rockhold may still be in order.
However, the coolest fight, age and damage excepting, would be a Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson rematch at UFC 200.