Belfort vs. Bisping: Crushing Defeat Means Uncertain Future for Michael Bisping

Michael DulkaContributor IJanuary 20, 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:  Michael Bisping of Great Britain celebrates his victory over Jorge Rivera of the USA in their middleweight bout part of at UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Michael Bisping's title aspirations disappeared from view as Vitor Belfort's leg knocked him out and ended their fight at UFC on FX 7 on Saturday night. Following the loss, Bisping's future looks cloudy following his second loss in his last three fights. 

The two fighters fought well in the first round and were closely matched. Belfort started to look better toward the end of the round and continued his flurry into the second round. Belfort's left leg kick to the head floored Bisping. As Belfort continued to punch the fallen Bisping, the fight was stopped and Belfort was announced the winner. 

Bisping entered the fight with a very certain path to UFC glory. He needed to beat Belfort and he would have gotten a shot at Anderson Silva for the title. A loss means that he must regain his standing and work his way back toward having a shot at the title. 

Outside of the actual loss of a title chance, Bisping's ability to reach that level seems to be in question. Yet Bisping took to Twitter following the fight and vowed to his supporters that he would be back:

Sorry guys. Wasn't good enough tonight. Fair play to vitor, well done. Thanks to everyone for the kind support, will be back soon.

— michael (@bisping) January 20, 2013

His next fight could be a matchup of similarly fallen Alan Belcher. The two would benefit from the fight as they look to bounce back from crushing defeats. Belcher lost his last fight in a unanimous decision to Yushin Okami on Dec. 29, 2012.  

Bisping's loss means it's not clear who will be next up to fight Anderson Silva. The reigning champion last fought on Oct. 13 when he beat Stephan Bonnar in the first round. 

At age 33, Bisping will need to rebound quickly and get some quality fights lined up. In order to reach his title aspirations, Bisping can't afford another letdown. There is still hope he can reach the peak, but his loss to Belfort makes for quite a detour.