So many times over the course of his career, Michael Bisping has found himself on the verge of a middleweight title shot.
But never has the 37-year old Brit had a stronger case than he does in 2016.
Bisping is coming off the biggest victory of his career, his unanimous decision win over former longtime champion Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 84 in one of the year's most compelling fights. That marked Bisping's fourth victory in his past five bouts.
And while he didn't want to talk about it in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 27 bout in London, Bisping's ready to state his case now: He wants the winner of the UFC 199 rematch between current titleholder Luke Rockhold and former champ Chris Weidman.
On Monday's MMA Hour, Bisping said a potential title shot has already come up in conversation with UFC president Dana White.
"He said ‘what's next?'" Bisping recalled of a phone conversation two days after the Silva fight. "I said ‘you know I want that title shot, Dana.' He said ‘let's see how things play out.' I said ‘Dana, I think I deserve that shot.' Of course he said ‘let's see how these things play out.' I said ‘you son of a b----‘ But, I'm happy to wait, I deserve the next shot."
Of course, Bisping's only loss in that five-bout stretch is to Rockhold, who scored a second-round submission victory over Bisping in Nov. 2014.
But Bisping points out there's a muddled picture at 185 pounds at the moment. With Yoel Romero tied up in an ongoing USADA case, most of the rest of the pack would be potential rematches for Rockhold, should he retain against Weidman.
"I think I deserve it," Bisping said. "I think the middleweight division is a complicated landscape at the moment. I don't see who there is next. I see Jacare [Souza] beating Vitor [Belfort]. But no matter who wins, they'd all be rematches. Mine would be a rematch, Jacare would be a rematch, Vitor would be a rematch, Weidman is a rematch. I think mine is a compelling case, and we'll see what the UFC wants to do, but I deserve it."
And besides, Bisping notes, fighters have gotten title shots for much less.
"I just beat Anderson Silva, I think that sells it in itself," Bisping said. "I've won 4 out of 5, I've fought nothing but the best fighters in the world --Nate Diaz may be getting a title shot at Robbie Lawler at welterweight for beating a 145er, okay? Now he gets a welterweight title shot? C'mon I just beat Anderson Silva."