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Michael Bisping says Ronda Rousey can rebound, just like he did after Dan Henderson KO

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Esther Lin, Sportsfile

Michael Bisping was supposed to be fighting at UFC 193, which went down in UFC history as one of the most memorable in the promotion’s history. Forget about the record-breaking attendance that filed into Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium for the event — everyone will remember the night Holly Holm knocked out the sport’s biggest icon, Ronda Rousey, with a massive head kick.

Bisping was at home in the States when the action took place, taking the historic swing in momentum in just like everyone else. Yet in the aftermath of the upset, Bisping was among the rare few who could empathize with Rousey. As the siege of derision and hatred came crashing down on Rousey from fans after losing her title, Bisping said he felt little parallels going back to his UFC 100 knockout at the hands of Dan Henderson.

The backlash he received from that singular moment still haunts him to this day.

"You’re right, there are some comparisons in terms of the Dan Henderson thing," Bisping said on Monday during an appearance on The MMA Hour. "I got knocked out and a lot of people said I was never going to come back from something like that. They said I was finished. Joe Rogan in particular said that — ‘he can never come back from a knockout like that.’ And of course I did.

"And I think Ronda’s going through the same thing right now. Saturday night I was working on Fox Sports 1 with Rashad Evans, and Rashad was saying she’ll never return from that, that she’ll disappear into movies. And I think that’s ridiculous. I think any competitor that has managed to rise to the top like she did, and competitor that has that natural competitive streak — you know she competed at the Olympics and became a world champion — to suggest that she’s not going to try and return from that and get revenge for that loss and try to get her belt back, that’s crazy."



The 36-year old Bisping — who outside of fighting is now a radio host on Sirius XM and a talking head on FOX — has gone 10-5 in the UFC since losing to Henderson, and is currently riding a two-fight winning streak. He is expected to return to action in March when the UFC visits London, against a "top ten opponent," according to him. He has, in essence, rebounded from the loss to Henderson.

Yet Rousey was not just a star in MMA; she’d risen to the level of pop culture icon. She was also the champion, who’d defended her title six times in what were essentially non-competitive fights. Rousey was on a level all her own until Holm roped her back down to earth.

Bisping said that Rousey’s transcendence in the game was the perfect set-up for haters to cheer her fall.

"To be honest, Ronda is such a big star, such a breakout star and a crossover star…there are people talking about this that don’t necessarily follow MMA," Bisping said. "For example, I went into the gym last week to lift weights, and the gym manager and some old-timers that I see in there just doing their Monday morning workouts, were coming up to me saying, ‘wow, did you see that on the weekend?’ These are people that don’t necessarily follow MMA, so there were a lot more eyes on this than typically your average knockout in the UFC. I have to say, I think that speaks to the level of stardom that she has.

"I hate to use that expressions ‘haters are going to hate,’ but that’s what people do. They like to build people up, and then when they get to a certain level they like to knock them back down again."

Since losing the belt, Rousey has been very quiet. She did not congratulate the champion Holm via social media or otherwise, nor has she issued any statement aside from a basic "I’ll be back sentiment" in the immediate aftermath of the fight. When TMZ cameras stalked her out at Los Angeles International Airport upon her arrival back from Australia, she meekly covered her face and navigated to her car without comment. This also drew criticism from fans and media.

Asked if he thought she’s carried herself right since the fight, Bisping said demeanor in defeat is a difficult thing.

"I don’t know if I’d have done anything differently," he told Ariel Helwani. "I think to be honest she did the right thing by covering her face because the photographers, they want that picture of her face busted up. And that would have been following her for the rest of her life. Anytime that she had any kind of confrontation on social media or anything, they would have used those pictures, and put some funny writing on top of it. I believe they call it a meme."

Bisping said he has been in the game long enough to know how cruel strangers can be.

"Those pictures that are never going to be complimentary," he said. "They’re always going to be pictures to show what Holly did to her, and of course, that hurts her pride. She’s a proud competitor, a fierce competitor. You don’t want to give them more fuel. Yeah she’s been quiet, but most fighters typically are quiet after a loss. Certainly, to go so high and then to drop…you go up so high, and you fall so high as well, or so deep.

"So of course she’s going to go away. She’s going to lick her wounds, disappear for a little while and then slowly start to creep out. That’s the way I look at it. You go into the fight, you’re full of confidence, you talk a little smack whatever it is…I’ve lost here and there, of course, you are depressed. You’re pissed off, you’re angry. But for me I’ve always wanted to get back in there, but you let the dust settle."

The question now becomes what the UFC’s next move will be. Rousey had made it known that she wanted to take a break from fighting after the bout with Holm, to focus on movies. Her projected return date was tentatively thought to be in July, at UFC 200.

Yet now with Holm holding the title, the picture changes. Holm may not be inclined to wait for Rousey until July, unless the UFC convinces her otherwise. Though Holm may welcome the rematch, Rousey may not be as open to it. At least not right away.

On the topic of an immediate rematch, the Bisping said he would favor doing a sequel rather than doubling back around to it after taking other bouts. But then again, there’s a lot of psychological and emotional tolls to get past.

"The fighter inside of you wants to get back in there right away," he said. "Because we believe we can do it differently, we believe that we made a mistake. Whether it be in game planning or in preparation. We think, our egos say we know we can do it next time. If I’m the coach or a manager, I would say listen, take some time. Work on some things. Let’s let you get over that 100 percent mentally so you’re not getting in there and fighting on emotion. You’ve got to get over it. There’s going to be a lot of emotions that she has to deal with.

"Potentially [she could] have some other fights, but I don’t think there’s any need for that. She’s beaten everybody else in the bantamweight division. There’s no need to fight anybody else. I think the immediate rematch is what everybody wants to see."

Bisping said that Rousey’s big mistake against Rousey was not having a fallback option should her usual game plan not produce results.

"She went in there with Plan A, she didn’t have a Plan B," he said. "Plan A in the past has always worked — she’s always been able to dominate her opponents, take them down and armbar them. Yes we’ve seen a couple of TKOs, but normally that’s what she likes to do, take them down. It didn’t work this time. Somebody had a masterful game plan to counter that. What she needs to work on is Plan B.
"I would have liked to have seen Plan B could have been, listen, don’t chase her. In Round 2, plant your feet at the center of the Octagon and make Holly come to her. That would have made the fight very different. If Holly had to go for Ronda, Ronda could have slipped the punches, got the clinch, and then got the takedown. Who knows? But that certainly could have been something she could have tried."