Michael Bisping is the UFC Middleweight Champion, and now the conversation turns to just what challenger is going to be facing him in his first title defense.
There are a number of options available, as the UFC could go with a Luke Rockhold trilogy bout, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, or even Chris Weidman after his injury return. He’s open to anyone, but his coach Jason Parillo believes the Rockhold rubber match could make the most sense.
“Weidman might have to wait. Weidman might have to wait because he never beat Luke Rockhold. We beat Luke Rockhold,” Parillo said in an interview with Submission Radio. “Michael Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold. And fair enough to Luke Rockhold, Rockhold’s got a submission victory over Mike. So in all reality, it makes more sense to go in that direction.
“I would love to see a rematch. I think it’s fair enough. You know, they can go at it again right now. I’m in the hype of the victory and in the hype of the victory of my fighter, so I think to myself, Mike will take on anybody after this fight. And when you’re world champion and Mike’s a world champion – Mike’s never ducked a guy before he won the world title, Mike will never duck a guy after he won the world title.”
Bisping’s KO win over Rockhold on Saturday at UFC 199 was shocking to most, but Parillo said he had no doubt that Bisping could pull it off.
“I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m a coach. You know, you hear coaches, you hear fighters, they run their mouth, ‘I knew this was gonna happen, I had no doubts in my mind.’ Honestly, I didn’t,” Parillo said. “I believed in Mike. I knew where we have gone, you know, not only physically but psychologically over the last five years or whatever. He’s grown leaps and bounds between the Thales Leites fight. And [in] the Anderson Silva fight we really peaked on what we were trying to establish with him and his game and his mentality, and everything just really lined up for this fight, it really did.
“I mean, as we know, Luke Rockhold beat Mike before, he stopped him,” he continued. “And facing a guy that stopped you in a five-round fight – he stopped him in two rounds – you know, a lot of times, in any of the fight organizations, it’s tough to beat a guy that’s beaten you before. Not just physically, but psychologically you have a lot of doubts going into it.
“Mike was positive and believed in himself. I was positive in believing him. His family did, his management did, all the other coaches did. We really, really had a strong belief in Mike in this fight. And the fact that he beat Anderson Silva, I know as a coach – and you hear me talk about it – the mindset and the psychological game of it all, it’s very valuable and it’s very important. It’s not bullshit, it’s the truth. At the end of the day, I knew Mike’s mind was in a place that it needed to be for this fight, regardless of shooting a movie and only having two-weeks notice. I also know with Mike, and I said it to you guys, Mike is firing as hard on the first day as he is the last day, and I knew physically and condition-wise we weren’t going to have a problem. And knowing where Mike’s mind was and where Mike’s mind is, I knew we were going to win this fight. I really did.”
Penick’s Analysis: Bisping’s confidence in himself has never been in question. He’s believed despite any of his losses, any of the moments he’s fallen short, that he was always going to accomplish this goal. To do so against a man who beat him before, and on two weeks notice, was incredible, and even if only those around him believed he could do that, he did it. The trilogy fight makes sense if they want to go that route, because both have finished each other, and it makes sense to run it back once more. Now, if they want to go with “Jacare” Souza next, I’m not going to complain, but doing this fight once more works.
[Photo (c) Jake Roth via USA Today Sports]
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