Michael Bisping Says He's the Unofficial Strikeforce Middleweight Champ

McKinley Noble@KenTheGreat1Correspondent INovember 30, 2012

Sep 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Michael Bisping fights against fighter Brian Stann (not pictured) in the middleweight bout at UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Middleweight title contender Michael Bisping isn't impressed with Luke Rockhold.

In fact, "The Count" claims that he outclasses the injured Strikeforce champion so thoroughly that he should technically be the one wearing Rockhold's title belt.

However, Bisping doesn't deny that Rockhold should get the call-up to the UFC when Strikeforce officially shuts down after January.

During an interview on SPIKE's MMA Uncensored Live (via MMA Mania), Bisping alluded to the gap in skill between himself and Rockhold, recalling a previous training session between them:

Luke Rockhold? By all accounts he and Lorenz Larkin should fight and the winner of that fight—if not both of them—[should] go over to the UFC. Are they gonna come over and be number one contenders? I don't think so. You're in Strikeforce, come over to the UFC and earn your place. Let me put it like this: I've sparred with Luke Rockhold recently and let's just say I'm the unofficial Strikeforce champion. Sorry Luke, but these are the facts.

Bisping and Rockhold are both considered two of the middleweight division's best fighters by several MMA publications, including Bleacher Report's own November 2012 rankings.

Bisping has been chasing a title shot for much of his UFC career, building up a 13-4 record in the promotion with three Fight of the Night awards.

The Englishman is 5-1 in his last six bouts, with his lone loss coming at the hands of Chael Sonnen. 

On January 19, 2013, Bisping is scheduled to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC on FX 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil for a title eliminator.

Rockhold was scheduled to take part in the final Strikeforce card with a title defense against Lorenz Larkin, but pulled out of the fight due to a wrist injury. Larkin has since called out Rockhold for dropping the fight, claiming that the champion doesn't want to risk a loss, and by proxy, a spot in the UFC.