NEW YORK – The ongoing sweepstakes that’s been going on to fight Michael Bisping has a winner. And it’s Tim Kennedy, the man who said he would "stab Bisping in the heart with a unicorn’s horn" as part of his lobbying campaign to face the popular British fighter next.
Dana White broke the news at the UFC 169 media scrum on Thursday.
"Michael Bisping is cleared and ready to roll," White said. "He’s going to fight on the TUF Nations Finale up in Canada against Tim Kennedy. It happened a couple of hours ago."
The middleweight Bisping had been sidelined with an eye injury -- a detached retina -- that he suffered while training for a bout against Mark Munoz in October. Lyoto Machida stepped on short notice to fight Munoz in Manchester, England, while Kennedy -- who was supposed to fight Machida at the Fight For the Troops 3 card in November at Fort Campbell, Kentucky -- ended up fighting Rafael Natal. Kennedy won via knockout in the first round.
Since that time Bisping’s timetable for a return has been up in the air, while everybody from Munoz to Luke Rockhold to Kennedy have been calling him out.
Bisping and Kennedy had been conditionally tied to the April 16 Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia fight card in Quebec City, contingent upon an eye examination that Bisping underwent earlier this week. Though as of Wednesday it looked like the examination was "inconclusive," by Thursday he had been cleared by London doctors to resume with his career.
Bisping (24-5) last fought at UFC 159 against Alan Belcher last April. Ironically he won a technical decision that night when an accidental eye-poke prevented Belcher from continuing. By time he steps in with Kennedy it will have been nearly a full year between fights for Bisping, a perennial top 10 fighter in the UFC’s middleweight division.