New UFC Middleweight champion Michael Bisping is a very busy man, and his schedule just got even more crowded. Speaking to Fox Sports 1 on the UFC 200 post-fight show, UFC President Dana White announced that Bisping's first defense will most likely come opposite former Pride champ Dan Henderson.
The news, unsurprisingly, has been met with mixed reactions.
Henderson's third UFC run has been an absolute roller-coaster, featuring epic battles, devastating knockouts and difficult-to-watch losses. Though Henderson is coming off an electrifying knockout win over Hector Lombard at UFC 199, where he shocked the world by winning with a head kick into a reverse elbow combination, he owns a subpar 3-6 record since 2013.
Despite the fact that his overall body of work is amazing, having won the UFC 17 tournament, the Rings King of Kings tournament in 1999, two championships in Pride and the Strikeforce light heavyweight title, his recent struggles and advanced age (he turns 46 in August) theoretically should disqualify him from a title shot in 2016.
That said, one of Henderson's greatest highlights is his UFC 100 win over Bisping, where he famously knocked his rival The Ultimate Fighter coach out cold with a blistering right hand, and leaped into a massive right hand. That fight follows both men to this day, and it's easy to see why fans would remain interested in the matchup, and why the UFC would see dollar signs around it.
While White didn't offer exact dates, he indicated that the fight may take place in Bisping's hometown of Manchester, England. Fox Sports' Damon Martin went a step further and indicated that the fight would take place in October.
Of course, White's word is by no means a guarantee. There is a real chance a completely different fight is announced in the coming weeks.
Still, fans of Japanese MMA have cause to be excited. Pride, it seems, never dies.