As the champion of the UFC’s stacked middleweight division, England’s Michael Bisping has a big, red target on his back. All around him, dangerous contenders are swirling, each hungry for their shot at the title he swiped from Luke Rockhold earlier this year.
Bisping’s next challenge as champion is likely to be provided by former Olympic wrestler Yoel Romero, who earned the title shot with a blistering, flying knee knockout of former champion Chris Weidman on the main card of UFC 205. Just behind Romero is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, a ferocious grappler who, today, is as known for his fight-altering punching power as he is for his submissions. Beyond Romero and Jacare are dangerous contenders like Gegard Mousasi, who recently dominated Uriah Hall to a first-round TKO, and Robert Whittaker, who turned Derek Brunson off with a head kick last Saturday. Needless to say, the champ is going to need to be absolutely on point if he intends to defend his belts from this murderer’s row of middleweights.
According to Bisping himself, the key to defending his title against the middleweight division’s top contenders will be takedown defense, as he believes none of them will want to stand and trade with him. The middleweight king made this claim in a recent post to Instagram, which showed him in the gym, developing his hip strength in an effort to improve his takedown defense.
Given the striking skill of the middleweight division’s top fighters, Bisping could be way off on this one. Then again, his striking looked better than ever in his title-winning defeat of Luke Rockhold, so maybe the middleweight division’s many contenders would prefer to drag him to the mat.
What do you think of this claim from the UFC middleweight king? Sound off, PENN Nation!