Last weekend, longtime UFC star Michael Bisping finally had his shot at gold and he made the most of it by knocking out Luke Rockhold in the first round to claim the middleweight championship at UFC 199.
Since winning the title, everyone has been wondering who Bisping will face in his first title defense.
There are a number of worthy challengers like Rockhold, former champion Chris Weidman, No. 1 contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and even MMA legend Dan Henderson, but no one has been more vocal about calling out Bisping than Rockhold.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the AKA standout will be getting the immediate rematch he is clamoring for.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Bisping revealed that a trilogy fight with Rockhold, who defeated Bisping back in 2014, will not be his first title defense.
“As of right now, Luke Rockhold will not be my first defense. That’s a fact,” Bisping told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “I had to go away and beat three more guys before I got a second shot at Luke. Certainly, after his behavior on Saturday, he should have to go away and do the same. He wasn’t even close.
“And it’s not like Luke beat me, then I beat Luke, so therefore we have to go again right away. The first fight was two years ago. Neither of us were champion then. He became champion, good for him. And I just knocked him out in the first round. Luke’s an incredible fighter. He probably has better technical skill than I do. He’s going to go away and do it the old-fashioned way like I had to.”
Bisping would not go into specifics about a potential opponent, but he did reveal he has someone in mind.
“Unfortunately, I’m not going to give you a name,” Bisping said. “There is someone I’ve got my eye on, but ultimately it’s down to the UFC. I do get a say since I’m the champion, so that’s nice. But I’ve never turned down an opponent and I certainly don’t intend to start as a champion. We’ll see what happens.
Who would you like to see Bisping face in his first title defense? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports