FWP: Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping

E. Spencer KyteSenior Analyst IJuly 8, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 23:  British Ultimate Fighting Champion Michael Bisping poses for photographs during the photocall to announce the arrival of Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts in the UK. 23 February, 2007, Manchester, England. Ultimate fighting, a mixture of martial arts is claimed to be one of the world's fastest growing sports and the largest championship in Britain is to be staged at Manchester's MEN arena on 21st April.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Man, am I dying to see this fight go down!

Not only because of the well-edited, reality TV created heat between these two, but because this fight will answer a number of questions, including what happens next in the UFC Middleweight division.

Where does Dan Henderson stand with a win?

Does Bisping earn a title shot at UFC 105 in London if he comes out victorious?

Is Bisping really a top contender in the division or has he simply looked good against lesser opponents?

What does Henderson have left in the tank?

Let's break it down, shall we?

Dan Henderson (24-7-0) vs. Michael Bisping (18-1-0)

It's finally nice to have a fight I can break down in my traditional methods, examining strength of schedule, training camps, and everything else, instead of just knowing that Jon Fitch and Yoshihiro Akiyama are going to run through their UFC 100 opponents.

In terms of training camps, as much as I like Wolfslair and the work they have done getting Rampage back on track, and Bisping to this level, Henderson and the group at Team Quest get the edge here.

Most of the time, when you're the top dog of the training group, the challenges and punishment you take in getting ready for a fight isn't always top notch. Ask Matt Hughes since he left MFS.

That isn't the case with Henderson and Team Quest, as Matt Lindland is just as talented and decorated a wrestler as "Hendo," and the number of high caliber fighters who can help him prepare dwarfs those of the Wolfslair Academy.

Looking at what I call "strength of schedule," the collection of fighters each man has faced over their careers, Henderson is the hands down winner. Henderson has gone to war with the likes of Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson, Rich Franklin, and both Nogueira brothers.

Bisping's biggest challenge to date has been Rashad Evans.

The most interesting element of this fight is the stylistic matchup, as Henderson is an Olympic level wrestler and Bisping is a boxer/kickboxer with some of the fastest hands in the division. Here is the wrinkle: Bisping and his coaches have been saying he is going to out-wrestle the wrestler. What?

Do they not remember what happened last time "The Count" stepped into the cage with a wrestler?

Matt Hammil tossed him around the Octagon at will before losing a horrible decision. Not to take anything away from Matt Hammil, but he's no Dan Henderson. To me, this sounds like either a pre-fight hype or career suicide. I'm hoping for option A.

Here is what makes this fight so attractive to me.

Everything I have come up with to this point, points in the direction of a Dan Henderson win.

He's got more experience, a better all-around game, and a stronger training camp, but why can't I shake the feeling that this just might be Michael Bisping's grabbing the torch and stepping to the upper echelon of the Middleweight division?

I know none are anywhere near the level of Dan Henderson, but Bisping looked good in destroying Charles McCarthy and Jason Day before executing a perfect game plan against Chris Leben.

He's training alongside Rampage, who could certainly provide a great deal of insight into beating Dan Henderson, having done so himself in the UFC.

And it's not like Dan Henderson has been dominating people as of late, either.

Can't it be Saturday already so I can just stop going back and forth on this in my head and watch a great fight?