Luke Rockhold wants vengeance against Michael Bisping after UFC 199, but if Bisping has his way he’s going to have to wait for the chance.
“As of right now, Luke Rockhold will not be my first defense. That’s a fact,” Bisping said in an interview with ESPN.com. “I had to go away and beat three more guys before I got a second shot at Luke. Certainly, after his behavior on Saturday, he should have to go away and do the same. He wasn’t even close. And it’s not like Luke beat me, then I beat Luke, so therefore we have to go again right away.
“The first fight was two years ago. Neither of us were champion then. He became champion, good for him. And I just knocked him out in the first round. Luke’s an incredible fighter. He probably has better technical skill than I do. He’s going to go away and do it the old-fashioned way like I had to.”
As for just whom he’d rather face instead Bisping wouldn’t say, but he did make it clear he’d like to bring a title fight to his home country of England.
“Unfortunately, I’m not going to give you a name,” he said when asked. “There is someone I’ve got my eye on, but ultimately it’s down to the UFC. I do get a say since I’m the champion, so that’s nice. But I’ve never turned down an opponent and I certainly don’t intend to start as a champion. We’ll see what happens. There’s plenty of viable contenders. Defending the title in the U.K. is certainly something I’d love to do, and I’ve already made it clear to Dana White that I would like to do that.”
Penick’s Analysis: The sentiment is understandable. And honestly, given how decisive the win was, the immediate rematch isn’t a necessity. Though he’s not naming him, I’d have to imagine Bisping’s probably talking Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and it’s a fight that makes a ton of sense in the fall. Rockhold can fight Chris Weidman again in New York City to set-up which of them gets back to a title fight, and the division can move forward.
[Photo (c) Jake Roth]
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