Many of us remember Bisping's first foray into fighting top ten talent. He was matched up against two time former PRIDE champion Dan Henderson after season nine of The Ultimate Fighter. As we know, things simply did not go well for Bisping. The first round saw him rocked by Henderson and tee'd off on, and also roughed up in the clinch by someone whose clinch skills were far above his own. The round even ended with Henderson smiling at Bisping as he shot for a futile takedown. Then, round two came along. Though Bisping was able to get on his bike and try to stay away from Henderson's power, he made the mistake of circling into Henderson's right hand. What followed was a thunderous right, and a KO that no one will ever forget.
After a rough first round against Mayhem, Michael Bisping secured his fourth victory in a row with a third round TKO. Very, very rarely is there a situation where a four fight win streak isn't impressive, so there's been quite a bit of talk about the Brit's place in the rankings and what's next for him. Some have suggested different matchmaking options for him such as Demian Maia or Brian Stann, and others have even gone so far to suggest Mike fighting for a title. What we can all agree on is that the easy part is done for Michael Bisping. From here on in, things are about to get very difficult.
Some would put forth the argument that Bisping has come a long way since UFC 100, and I can't really disagree with him. We've seen the Brit become a bit more aggressive, and he has shown tighter technique. At the same time, doubts are shed upon Bisping due to the above brutal knockout, on top of a loss to a Wanderlei Silva who is past his prime. Still, Michael has proven that he is ready for the top of the division, and he may not like what he's up against.
Though some would argue that Middleweight is a shallow division (which I consider a synonym for "it's not lightweight") there really isn't any denying that the top of that division has some very bad matchups for Bisping's style. Though Bisping could be seen as a jack of all trades style fighter who focuses on standup, his game has its pores. He's not a top level grappler like a Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, or Mark Munoz. He also may not possess the striking power or strength of chin to contend with someone like Brian Stann or Vitor Belfort.
As if that weren't trouble enough, the number one pound for pound fighter in the world sits at the top of the Middleweight class. Though I am not a fighter myself, one can only imagine what it must be like to be a middleweight contender. Here you are, top 10 in the division, and the top fighter isn't even struggling with most of his competition. The only person to come close to beating him was Chael Sonnen, but that performance is tainted due to a positive steroid test. Bisping is far, far beind Silva as a striker, and doesn't possess the wrestling to grind Silva to a decision. The safe assumption to make is that Bisping would once again eat the canvas.
It's not outside the realm of possibility for Bisping to beat someone in the top ten. He could feasibly win a fight with Demian Maia or Yushin Okami, though each fight would probably not favor Bisping in the odds. At the same time, things simply do not look good for him right now. Though he may be excited to face the upper echelon of the division, I dread what would happen if we saw Michael Bisping vs Vitor Belfort, or something along those lines. To Bisping's credit, he is a live dog, and whatever happens next will definitely be a fight to watch.
Well, Kid Nate said get started, didn't he?