Michael Bisping did what he needed to do at UFC 152 with a victory over Brian Stann. Now it is time for the 33-year-old contender to get his shot at the pound-for-pound king.
Bisping's victory is the first since falling to Chael Sonnen in January in a contentious decision. So why does that make him the top contender? Title fights are more than about who is atop the rankings.
When looking at the UFC's middleweight roster only two names stick out for the next shot: Chris Weidman and Bisping. Weidman wants the title shot, and he has a credible argument for receiving it. However, despite his outstanding knockout of Mark Munoz he is not particularly well known.
The New Yorker is 9-0 in his young career and has only recently taken the step up in competition. Bisping has been fighting the best of the best for years, and has paid his dues for a crack at Anderson Silva's gold.
Since dropping to middleweight in 2008 Bisping has only been on the losing side three times. The infamous knockout at the hands of Dan Henderson and two very close decision losses. He has toppled then likes of Chris Leben, Dan Miller, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jorge Rivera, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, and now Stann.
What may be more important is that Bisping is known by the casual fanbase and is able to sell a fight with his words. Sonnen has laid out the blueprint.
MMA is a sport, and in a perfect world all that would matter in sports is winning. But the UFC is a business, and as a business the bottom line is an important factor in their decision making process.
A pay-per-view fight between Silva and Bisping would do exponentially better than one headlined by Silva and Weidman. The build-up would also do much better. Bisping knows how to work a crowd.
The potential challenger could make the paying customer want to drop $60 to watch the champion knock him out. It is almost always more profitable to be the heel in combat sports, and Bisping has shown that quality throughout his career.
Recently, Bisping went on MMAWeekly.com Radio and explained why Weidman does not deserve the next title shot:
Chris Weidman, I think he’s overhyped as well. Up until the point when he fought Demian Maia I had never heard of Chris Weidman before in my life because he had been fighting bums on the undercard. Then he fights Demian Maia and I had to turn the TV off in my dressing room because it was the most boring fight I’ve ever seen in my life.
Upon that he fights Mark Munoz, and yeah he beats him, but if I remember right the crowd booed unbelievably throughout the first round because he just laid on him. Then he knocked him out with an elbow, but that’s due to the fact that Mark Munoz came in out of shape, unfocused, and looking like he was at a rock concert and not a UFC fight.
Title fights are comprised of exciting fighters who can sell a fight. Bisping is proven in both of those categories. Weidman is still working his way up.
Bisping has paid his dues. He deserves the next title shot against Anderson Silva.