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Bisping looking to defend UFC title in England

The newly crowned UFC middleweight champion wants to defend his title on home soil.

Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

It was Michael Bisping's dream, and maybe his destiny, to beat Luke Rockhold and take home the middleweight title at UFC 199. It's another dream to be able to defend the belt on home soil in the UK.

The 37-year-old, who burst onto the scene after winning series three of The Ultimate Fighter, told the BBC he's in talks with Dana White about having his first title defense in England.

"I had a discussion with the president of UFC, Dana White, and I said I'd love to defend my title in the UK but we'll see," Bisping said. "It's obviously down to what the UFC wants to do next but I'm very much focussed on defending the belt.
The old saying is, 'You're not the champion until you defend it', so I do intend on defending this belt and defending it successfully."

Bisping last fought in England at UFC Fight Night 84, where he edged out Anderson Silva in a pulsating back-and-forth clash at the O2 Arena in London. The Clitheroe-based fighter, who used to train out of Wolfslair MMA Academy in Liverpool, relocated to the US but still sees the UK as his home, as he revealed to Ariel Helwani in a feature interview prior to Fight Night.

In his ten years with the organization, Bisping had established himself as one of the craftiest veterans in the sport but always fell short of UFC gold. That was until last weekend, when the former Cage Warriors 205-pound champion crumpled Rockhold with a couple of left hooks in the first round.

Bisping says his fortune has changed tremendously since the upset win and plans to take a holiday before jumping back into the Octagon.

"I'm certainly enjoying it so far. The treatment you get from the people, the treatment you get from the UFC, the influence you have in your next steps moving forward. There are lots of offers and deals and sponsorships - there are all kinds of things coming in. It's very, very nice.

"I deserve a holiday. So me, my wife and children, we're going to take a well-deserved break, get some sunshine and then we'll start thinking about what the next fight will be."

It's expected that Bisping will defend the belt against No. 3 ranked contender 'Jacare' Souza, unless Dan Henderson has something to say about it.

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