UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is 37, and has been fighting professionally since 2004. He is the oldest champion in the league, younger even than Daniel Comier, albeit by just three weeks. Bisping is tied with Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir for most UFC fights ever, with 27. But his record is better, at 20-7, compared to 15-12 for Ortiz, and 16-11 for Mir. So he wants to make as much money as he can for each fight, as he has a long and amazing fighting career behind him, not ahead of him.
Yoel Romero is the #1 contender. Bisping had said he didn’t want to give the former Olympic wrestling medalist a title shot given his anti-doping history. Then when Romero beat Chris Weidman via flying knee, Bisping gave him the finger, a certain sign that the fight was on. Now in an interview with Champions.co, Bisping again expressed doubt and said he wouldn’t be fighting until late spring due to nagging injuries.
“First and foremost, I am still UFC middleweight champion of the world,” said Bisping, as transcribed byJed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I have to defend that belt, simple as that. Dana actually- Dana White, UFC president- actually contacted me and spoke about a fight recently but I’ve been having a lot of issues with my knee so I’ve got to have a knee surgery. Maybe around the end of April, May something like that, I’ll take a fight.”
“I want the biggest fight I can get. I don’t mind facing No. 1 contenders but at this stage of my career I’ve fought the best guys forever. I want the biggest fight it can possibly be. By biggest, I mean the biggest money generating fight I can possibly have. I feel I deserve that. I’ve earned that. So whether that’s Yoel Romero, then great. But if it ain’t Yoel Romero, if it’s Anderson Silva, great. I know he’s piped up again lately. If it’s GSP – I don’t care who the opponent is. I’m not bothered by any opponent. I am the champion of the world and I will take on all comers, but I want the biggest fight possible.”
The UFC is currently owned by banks, that want a return on their investment. Niceties like delivering to a #1 contender his just reward may be overshadowed by the strain of realizing a return on a four billion dollar investment. Michael Bisping could well get him wish here, as the biggest money fight for him is the biggest money for the UFC and that might well not be Yoel Romero. In fact, if GSP signs with the UFC, you can guarantee that Romero will be left fighting someone not named Bisping.