When Michael Bisping won the middleweight championship off of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 circumstances were such that there was no definitively clear cut No. 1 contender for the belt, with all of the top fighters having recent losses or USADA troubles. In light of this, the UFC opted to give Dan Henderson a swan song title shot despite being barely ranked at the time. The fight raised the ire of several top middleweights who dislike the lack of meritocracy in giving the number 14 ranked fighter a title shot over everyone else.
Those same complaints started getting kicked up again recently when Bisping began making overtures at a fight with former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre is currently embroiled in a contract dispute with the UFC over whether or not he is a free agent but that hasn't stopped Bisping from dreaming. On his SiriusXM radio show Thursday, The Countdown with Michael Bisping, the middleweight champion laid out his dream scenario for the rest of the year.
"In a perfect world, for me, I'd fight Georges St-Pierre in six weeks time. That's just around the corner and all the other guys are tied up. Georges St-Pierre would be the biggest payday of my career, bar none. So excuse me for trying to get the biggest payday of my career...
"It would end off a perfect year for me. I've had the best year of my career and to finish it off with a guy like Georges St-Pierre, another legend, a former champion, a Hall of Famer, a guy who was a pioneer of the sport, an undoubtedly a guy who was pound for pound one of the best in the history of this sport, to beat him and to get my biggest payday, that would end the best year of my career; and my next fight would be against Chris Weidman. In a perfect world, that is what I would like."
That perfect world is far from a likely scenario. Weidman has a bout at UFC 205 with Yoel Romero first and St-Pierre has no timetable for a return. In fact just this week St-Pierre responded to Bisping, saying a fight at UFC 206 in Toronto wasn't going to be possible. But even if St-Pierre isn't available Bisping would still like to get back in the cage one more time this year and he's got a name he'd be interested in to boot.
"I'm down to fight ASAP because Dana and the UFC put this in my mind, fighting at 206. So now in my mind I want to fight at 206. I was ready to take the rest of the year off and do nothing and enjoy being the champion and have some time with my kids and go away for Thanksgiving. But then this was put in my mind again and now I want to fight in Toronto.
"So yeah, if it's not gonna be GSP, I don't mind being on the card against somebody else and Nick Diaz is somebody else that moves the needle... His last fight was against Anderson Silva so he's fought at 185, and if Nick Diaz wants to do it, I'll fight Nick Diaz. If anybody wants to do it, I'll do it."
Diaz hasn't fought since his bout with Anderson Silva in January of 2015. He lost a unanimous decision - his third in a row - but the result was later overturned as a result of Silva testing positive for a banned substance and Diaz for marijuana. He came off suspension earlier this year and has yet to have a fight announced. It's easy to imagine that Diaz being granted a title shot would inspire renewed claims that Bisping is looking for "low hanging fruit," something the champion wholeheartedly refutes.
"All the other middleweights [are] basically saying I'm looking for easy fights, which is pissing me off because of course Henderson wasn't the rightful No. 1 contender, the UFC offered me that fight. And Georges St-Pierre isn't the rightful No. 1 contender but he was the one talking to me for the fight. I'm not out here looking for easy pickings...
"I'll fight anybody as long as it makes sense business-wise. I'm not gonna risk my reputation and my title against some chump, but if there's a lot of money on the line, then I'll do it. And if Nick Diaz wants to go at UFC 206, formally, officially, I invite you to sign the bout agreement. Let's do it. And then after that, whoever wins more impressively of the top four middleweights- Rockhold, Weidman, Yoel, and Souza, I'll fight after this. That will happen. 100%.
"Believe you me, I want to fight Chris Weidman. Out of the four of them - I've already beat Rockhold - Weidman is the one I want to fight."
With the four top contenders in the division currently scheduled for fights later this year, another Bisping side quest might not be received that poorly. And even if it is, the endless pursuit of "money fights" is the new normal for both champions and UFC brass. After all, as Bisping himself sums up when addressing the commendations St-Pierre is receiving in the media for standing up to the UFC and possibly helping out the rest of the fighters on roster, this is every man for himself.
"It ain't my responsibility to look after the entire UFC roster. I'm looking after Michael Bisping and Michael Bisping's family."
Below are excerpts from the show. You can listen to the full show at SiriusXM.com.
That was quick. Olympic gold-medal winning judoka Kayla Harrison signs with WSOF.
Big money, easy fights. Marlon Moraes explains his decision to re-sign with WSOF as "an offer I couldn't refuse."
Chael-Wanderlei. Scott Coker says Bellator plans to put on a "mega-fight card" in New York City in the near future.
Denial. Lyman Good denies taking any banned substances.
Mega Megu. Megumi Fujii was all kinds of dope. On this the anniversary of her first ever "loss," you should read this thing I wrote about her awhile back.
Extended preview for the biggest UFC event ever.
Chael talking Tito and car repo allegation.
Tito w/ the suit button all the way to the top.
Chael on Conor
TFATK w/ Chael Sonnen
A mini-podcast by Karim Zidan about the Alexander Emelianenko situation
Why do it at 6 am? That's just rude.
USADA guy wasn't happy to see— Jake Ellenberger (@EllenbergerMMA) October 27, 2016
a smith & wesson barrel at 545am
Khabib is crushing this graphic.
Who will remain UNDEFEATED this time next year? pic.twitter.com/oBPOWYohBZ— EA SPORTS UFC (@EASPORTSUFC) October 27, 2016
Chael already planning on Wanderlei.
But what if I left my wallet?
Full beard, engaged.
Maybe you should learn to pull out occasionally.
Does Conor actually need glasses or is this just a fashion thing?
Claudio Puelles (7-1) vs. Martin Bravo (10-0); UFC TUF Latin America 3 Finale, November 5.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2010: Women's MMA GOAT Megumi Fujii "lost" for the first time in her professional career when Zoila Gurgel won a unanimous decision to claim the inaugural Bellator women's 115 strawweight champion. The main event that evening featured the first and only title defense of Hector Lombard's middleweight championship who won a unanimous decision over Alexander Shlemenko.
It's the last UFC free weekend for basically the rest of the year. We've got nine events in the next seven weeks, a week off for Christmas, and then an end of the year card. 10 events in nine weeks is a lot but most of them are pretty hot fire, so enjoy this weekend and get ready for the final push.
See everyone on Monday.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.