Michael Bisping’s first defense of the UFC Middleweight Title will indeed be coming against Dan Henderson, and the UFC wants to bring the fight to Manchester, England.
UFC President Dana White confirmed as much alongside Bisping on the UFC 200 post-fight show on Fox Sports 1 Saturday night, placing the booking on Bisping as the fight he most wanted, and claiming it was the fight the fans wanted as well.
The fight, a rematch from 2009’s UFC 100, comes after both fighters scored victories at UFC 199. Bisping’s improbably upset over Luke Rockhold on short notice gave him the title he’d coveted throughout his ten year run in the Octagon, while Henderson’s “KO of the Year” front-runner over Hector Lombard was a bounce back win. In fact, Henderson is just 3-6 over his last nine fights, with the last four of those losses coming in fairly vicious fashion.
No date has been set, and indeed the fight hasn’t officially been signed, but both White and Bisping confirmed it’s the fight on the docket.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s just sad and ridiculous that this is the direction they’re going, but it’s not surprising. Expect this to hit Manchester in October, and let’s just hope they’re not demanding a pay-per-view purchase to see it. If this is the fight they’re going to make, put Bisping and his next title defense on UFC Fight Pass, and let the actual contenders in the middleweight division fight it out.
Article updated as White said the bout would be targeted for Manchester, not Birmingham. The error has been corrected.
[Photo (c) Jake Roth via USA Today Sports]
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