There has been much speculation as to who would be the first fighter to challenge Michael Bisping for his newly won middleweight championship. We received our answer on Saturday following the events for UFC 200 and it will be an old foe of Bisping, Dan Henderson.
UFC president Dana White joined the post fight show on Fox Sports 1 following UFC 200. The panel, which consisted for bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Brian Stann, and Michael Bisping, threw questions to White about pay-per-view. After White finished discussing the events that occurred that night he began to field questions from the panel about their current status. Cruz asked about the potential of a super fight for him in the featherweight division and Bisping asked who would he face in his first title defense.
“We’re going to do Dan Henderson versus Michael Bisping,” stated White in response to Bisping. “It’s a fight that the champ wants, it’s a fight that the fans want, and hopefully Manchester. I’m thinking about doing it in Manchester, England.”
Bisping and Henderson first faced off at UFC 100 after the two coached opposite each other on the “Ultimate Fighter”. The theme for that season was U.K. versus the U.S. Bisping’s team won both the lightweight and welterweight tournaments. Henderson received the last laugh as he scored a knockout for the ages against Bisping at UFC 100. To this day, the knockout ranks among the best in the UFC’s history and has been a mark of embarrassment for Bisping ever since.
As stated by White this is a fight the champion wants and Henderson has always been a fan favorite so there may not be much resistance from fans for this bout taking place. While there are others, like Jacare Souza and Gegard Mousasi who have done more recently to deserve a title shot the UFC is going with the bitter history between Bisping and Henderson as the leading factor for the making the fight.
Henderson (32-14) is coming off knockout win over Hector Lombard at UFC 199, the same card in which Bisping won the middleweight title. Henderson is only 2-3 in his last five bouts but when he wins he wins big. Prior to his win over Lombard he defeated Tim Boetsch via a first round knockout and his last win before that was against Shogun Rua and that was also via a TKO. Despite his age and lack of consistency, Henderson is still a legitimate threat in any fight.