Michael Bisping utilized an effective game plan and took care of Brian Stann in one of the most anticipated fights of UFC 152 on Saturday night. The fight lacked the fireworks most expected, but it was still one of the more solid fights on the card.
Bisping has been going up and down the contender ladder for quite some time now. He made his UFC debut way back in 2006 at the TUF 3 finale. Over the last six years he has put himself in the position of being one fight away from a title shot, but has never overcome that final obstacle.
I'm one who believes Bisping deserves a title shot. We've seen plenty of fighters with less of a track record get a shot, and "The Count" has paid his dues. Some believe he doesn't deserve it because of his loss to Chael Sonnen.
Well, Bisping has still won five of his last six fights.
Bisping deserves a shot against Anderson Silva, but it appears Silva will face GSP if St. Pierre beats Carlos Condit and Silva beats Stephan Bonnar. Bisping will most likely have to take another fight in between.
Assuming he doesn't face Silva, here are five fights Bisping should take next:
- Winner of Chris Weidman vs. Tim Boetsch (December 29)
- Chael Sonnen (If he comes back to middleweight after his fight against Forrest Griffin on December 29
- Jake Shields (28-6-1)
- Winner of Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami (December 29)
- Winner of Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares (December 14)
At first glance it would appear Bisping versus the winner of Weidman-Boetsch could be a title-contender eliminator, unless Dana White already has plans of making the winner of Weidman-Boetsch face Silva.
I wouldn't mind seeing Bisping fight Sonnen again. I thought their first fight could have gone either way, and although both fighters didn't look their best, it wouldn't be a questionable rematch due to the way it ended.
It's hard to predict what's going to come Bisping's way with so many big fights in the division coming up between now and the end of the year.
I do believe, however, that The Count has earned the opportunity to fight for the belt.
Joe Chacon is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.