Michael Bisping has waited ten years for a title shot and he finally gets his wish against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 this Saturday.
In a special Inside The Octagon, John Gooden and Dan Hardy speak to ‘The Count’ before he makes history as only the second Brit to fight for UFC gold.
Do you see Bisping claiming the gold or will Rockhold defend successfully?
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Cody Garbrandt’s star is shining brighter than ever after the American smashed Thomas Almeida with some sharp, powerful striking.
The Brazilian was hit with all sorts of problems and was hurt multiple times in the brief contest, which eventually ended with a huge right hook.
Elsewhere, Jeremy Stephens beat Renan Barao by unanimous decision in a contest that could have gone either way, but was given to Stephens after utilised his impressive punching power.
Rick Story made a winning return to the welterweight division, where it was simply to easy for him to clinch Tarec Saffiedine.
It was another close defeat for Jorge Masvidal, who was picked apart by Lorenz Larkin’s stong kicking game, while Erik Koch choked-out Shane Campbell.
Bryan Caraway secured an impressive split-decision win over super prospect Aljamain Sterling on the undercard.
Michael Bisping jumps from the movie set to the Octagon at UFC 199, hoping to bookend his turbulent career with a Hollywood ending.
After a full decade fighting in the UFC, ‘The Count’ finally gets his long-awaited and hard-earned shot at gold when he takes on Luke Rockhold at the Forum in California on Saturday.
Unfortunately for him, it comes having just wrapped up filming for the new ‘Triple X’ installment and on two-weeks notice following Chris Weidman’s injury pull out.
Not only that, it’s also against a younger man who, not only produced a flawless and decisive performance to beat him 16 months ago, but has since improved and is now the middleweight champion.
Yet, the context in itself is quite poetic because the extenuating circumstances are emblematic of Bisping’s long and storied mixed martial arts career.
Nothing has come easy. He’s been up and then down, fixed and then broken, but despite years of failed title campaigns, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort all brought efforts to an end, the gritty Brit has remained relevant in an era of revolving doors.
Since being choked out, with one arm, in the second round to Rockhold, Bisping has won three straight – his last against the all-time greatest middleweight Anderson Silva. And just like in February, nobody thinks he has a chance.
1 week out from @ufc 199. My weight cut has started and my wife and kids are making chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream. C'mon!!!WTH!— michael (@bisping) May 29, 2016
“I have no pressure. I know I’m expected to lose this fight,” Bisp- ing said during last week’s UFC 199 conference call. “The world is expecting me to lose this fight, and that’s so nice, that feels good.
“I haven’t had 10 weeks of evaluating footage and going through the emotional roller coaster. Feeling confident, feeling negative, feeling confident again, then negative again. I don’t have time for that s***. I’m very, very confident.
“I’m in great shape. My weight is perfect. I’m expected to lose? That’s awesome.”
While the 37-year-old is looking for his feature-film climax in what is almost certainly his last shot at a UFC title, the champ with the silver screen looks is planning on ending his rival’s career.
“Mike, he’s a tough dude, he took this fight, but this will not be his fairy tale,” the 31-year-old said.
“This will be his swansong. This will be the end of him. I am going to go out there and dominate this guy like he’s never been before.”
You can never count Bisping out but even with a full training camp it’d have been hard to look past the longer and stronger Rockhold. But the war of words between these feuding middleweights is well under way and will reach its crescendo on Saturday.
Get the popcorn to hand because unlike the return of Xander Cage, this sequel has all the elements of a Tinseltown classic.