What's Next For Michael Bisping?

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJuly 17, 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)

I assume by now Michael Bisping has awakened from the instant coma Dan Henderson put him in last Saturday night. Bisping still may not fully realize what happened, but he now must keep that fight in the past and move forward to remain an upper-tier fighter in the middleweight division.

I joke about Bisping's consciousness because he must be feeling a bit sheepish after experiencing what he did against Dan Henderson. A ton of pre-fight hype and trash talk was gone in an instant with a right hand that put him to sleep before even reaching the canvas.

Bisping has come under constant scrutiny over the past couple years due to his antics The Ultimate Fighter 3, his post-fight actions in a controversial win over Matt Hamill, and most recently his words for Dan Henderson both on The Ultimate Fighter and before their fight.

Couple all that with the fact that many perceive him to be Dana White's "boy", and it's easy to see that Bisping is nowhere near a fan favorite, unless of course he's fighting in his native England.

Fighters far better than Bisping have come back from crushing defeats to still have great careers. He is still only 30-years-old, with just 19 professional fights, so those that hate Bisping need to realize he's not going anywhere for several years.

What Bisping must realize is that he isn't near the top of the middleweight division just yet. He's a very good fighter in the division but needs to improve on much of his game if he's ever going to wear the middleweight title.

Bisping's biggest weakness in the Henderson fight appeared to be his gameplan. He was constantly circling right into Henderson's wheelhouse and finally got caught with a devastating right hand. He either felt he would be too quick for Henderson to land the punch, or he was simply dumb enough to think Henderson wouldn't have the ability to land it.

In any case, Henderson landed it and made Bisping eat every single word he spouted off before the fight.

There are several fights out there for Bisping, so I don't see him falling too far from title contention.

One option would have been to face the returning Yushin Okami. However it was announced today that Okami will face Chael Sonnen at UFC 104. Bisping could fight the loser of that fight, but that would be a very long layoff for a fighter desperately wanting to come back from his last loss.

Another option could see Bisping take on the loser of the Demian Maia and Nate Marquardt fight. Those two are set to fight at UFC 102 in August, and a fight could be set up with Bisping before the end of the year. Both fights would be difficult for Bisping, and a win would vault him back up the standings in the division.

The fight that I think is most likely to happen would be a bout to welcome Wanderlei Silva to the middleweight division. A fight for Silva's initial fight in the division has yet to be announced, but a fight with Bisping would serve well as a semi-main event on any pay-per-view.

Silva almost pulled off the win against Rich Franklin in his last fight at UFC 99. He has struggled since joining the UFC, losing three of his four fights. A win for either Bisping or Silva would go a long way towards a title fight against whoever the champion may be.

Michael Bisping's mouth finally caught up to him at UFC 100. It's now time for him to shut up and get back to training and rebound from only his second career loss. If you're hoping Bisping goes away, you're likely to be unhappy since he is still a very good fighter and one of the top draws in the sport.