On Saturday night, Michael Bisping defended the UFC middleweight title, taking a narrow decision from a former foil in Dan Henderson. In doing so, the Brit extended an unlikely title reign that began with a shocking, upset knockout of Luke Rockhold in June of this year.
Bisping’s next challenger is likely to be the winner of one of two bouts. The first, which goes down on November 12, will pair former middleweight champ Chris Weidman with former Olympic wrestler Yoel Romero. The second, which occurs November 26, will see Rockhold look to get back on track opposite a fellow Strikeforce veteran in Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Whichever of these four men performs most impressively in November is likely to be given the next crack at Bisping’s title.
No matter who earns the shot, however, they’ll likely be pegged as a sizeable betting favourite over the champ. The majority of the MMA community will expect them to beat Bisping, and they themselves will probably step onto the canvas expecting the same.
This, of course, could be the next challenger’s downfall. If they enter their bout with the hard-working Bisping with even a shred of overconfidence, they might well find themselves with a new loss on the record. Bisping, after all, spent the first half of 2016 capitalizing on the overconfidence of his foes.
Yet according to UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy, who defeated Bisping in early 2014, Bisping’s title reign will end with his next defense – no matter who is opponent is, and how overconfident that opponent might be.
Not once more. https://t.co/8gXrYN54Iw
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) October 9, 2016
“Not once more,” Kennedy said on Twitter, responding to a claim that Bisping could continue to defend the title for some time if his opponents keep underestimating him.
Kennedy, who has not been seen since a controversial 2014 loss to Yoel Romero, will finally return to action at UFC 205 this November 12, where he will take on former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. If he wins, he’s confident that he’ll jump ahead of Weidman, Romero, Rockhold and Jacare, and receive the next crack at Bisping – though this seems unlikely.
How long do you think Bisping’s title reign will last? Sound off, Penn nation!