UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold have a very long, and very public, rivalry dating back many years.
Prior to the pair’s first meeting in the Octagon, Bisping infamously recalled a sparring session between the pair, taking a shot at the former Strikeforce middleweight champ by stating that after their sparring session, he should be the Strikeforce middleweight champion. Bisping’s comments didn’t sit too well with Rockhold, who was quick to welcome a fight with Bisping. In 2014 the pair had their first meeting inside the Octagon, where Rockhold defeating Bisping via 2nd round submission in a particularly impressive showing.
Nearly two years later, Rockhold was the UFC middleweight champion after defeating Chris Weidman in the co-main event of UFC 194. The pair were then booked for a rematch in the main event of UFC 199 in June of 2016. In the meantime, Bisping had been going on a tear of the UFC’s middleweight division, going on a 3-fight win streak that most notably saw him pick up a unanimous decision win over Anderson Silva in the main event of ‘UFC Fight Night: London.
With just two weeks to go until Rockhold and Weidman had their highly anticipated rematch, Weidman was forced out of the fight with a neck injury. Rather than postponing the fight, the UFC selected Michael Bisping as a late replacement. On just two weeks notice, Bisping cut to the championship weight of 185 pounds, and defeated Rockhold via 1st round KO in what many consider one of the best knockouts of the year to claim the middleweight championship.
Since then, Bisping has defended the middleweight championship once, defeating Dan Henderson via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 204 earlier this month. In addition, Rockhold signed for a fight with Jacare Souza in November in what many believe to be a #1 contender fight. The pair have continued to trade shots in the media recently, with Rockhold stating that he believed Bisping was ducking the middleweight division’s top contenders.
That didn’t sit too well with the middleweight champ, who fired back at his rival via Twitter.
— michael (@bisping) October 22, 2016