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Morning Report: Michael Bisping: Max Holloway winning legitimizes the featherweight belt again

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Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping at UFC 204 open workouts
Esther Lin/

When Jose Aldo won the UFC interim featherweight championship at UFC 200, many fans viewed him as a paper champion. Conor McGregor’s 13-second knockout over Aldo remained fresh in the minds of many, and the fact that McGregor had never lost the 145-pound title loomed large over the division. But for many, Max Holloway unifying the featherweight titles last weekend at UFC 212 by stopping Aldo in the third round has cast out McGregor’s shadow and ushered in a new era of the 145-pound division.

Among those who viewed Aldo’s second title reign as illegitimate is UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. On the most recent episode of his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping suggested that Holloway’s victory was the best outcome for the health of the 145-pound division because, despite all Aldo has accomplished, he wasn’t the real UFC featherweight champion.

“I think it’s fantastic that Max Holloway won and I think he had to win to put life back into the 145 [pound] division,” said Bisping. “Because honestly, Jose Aldo is a great fighter, Jose Aldo had an amazing career, Jose Aldo this, Jose Aldo that, all this f**king good stuff is so positive - I was not for one second buying Jose Aldo as the featherweight champion. I’m sorry but he got knocked the eff out in 13 seconds and then in his next fight he fights Frankie Edgar and all of the sudden he’s the champion again. So for me, I never bought into that.

“On the other side, we had Max Holloway on a 10-fight win streak, getting better and better with every fight. The whole interim title fight at UFC 206 against Anthony Pettis, that was a little weak sauce so to speak but still, he beat him. Then he fights the undisputed champion which is bullshit because he’s not the undisputed champion because he just got knocked out in his fight previous.”

After Aldo lost to McGregor, he fought Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 to win an interim title belt with the idea being to rematch McGregor. But McGregor spent much of 2016 embroiled in a pair of fights with Nate Diaz and then chased after and won the lightweight title at UFC 205. After winning the lightweight title, the UFC stripped McGregor of his featherweight belt and Aldo was promoted to undisputed champion.

Simultaneously, the UFC turned Holloway’s fight with Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 into an interim title fight to increase interest in the bout. Pettis was the former lightweight champion and Holloway was on a nine-fight winning streak in the division since his loss to, none other than McGregor. Holloway won that bout with a third-round TKO stoppage and then replicated that feat against Aldo on Saturday to become the unified champion and in, Michael Bisping’s eyes, the legitimate champion.

“Now, fortunately, Max Holloway went out there and destroyed him,” said Bisping. “Great fight, very, very entertaining fight. Well done. So now we have, I think it’s fair to say, a legitimate champion that nobody can disparage or take away from because yes, he got beat by Conor but that was three or four years ago now and Max is a different fighter today. So 145 has a solidified, definite, undisputed featherweight champion of the world which I think is great for the division.”

Michael Bisping is currently sitting out with a knee injury while Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker compete for an interim middleweight title at UFC 213 on July 8. He is likely to return later this year, either against the winner of that fight or possibly against Georges St-Pierre.


True. Frankie Edgar says “there is no one else” more deserving of a title shot against Max Holloway.

On it. Alexander Gustafsson believes Jon Jones was “on something” when they fought.

Celebration. Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros received hero’s welcome when the returned to Hawaii.

732,000. UFC 212 prelims do second lowest ratings of the year.


A fun little doc on Marc Diakiese.


Derrick Lewis staying on brand with the Ronda things.

Free fight for Spanish speakers.

TUF 25 competitor backing DJ.


Anik and Flo. UFC 12 recap plus UFC Auckland preview.

Beatdown. UFC 212 discussion and who should be in the Hall of Fame.

Fights Gone By. Jack Slack on UFC 212 and Max Holloway.



Must be chilly under all that shade.


Teruto Ishihara is always on brand.

Joanna is perfect.


Weidman got those connects.

Anderson working with Power MMA some.

I don’t think we talk enough about how Sage is actually Derek Zoolander.


Ricardo Lamas (17-5) vs. Jason Knight (17-2); UFC 214, July 29.


2008: Thiago Alves knocked out Matt Hughes in the main event of UFC 85.

2009: At WEC 41, Mike Brown defeated Urijah Faber in their rematch via unanimous decision, retaining his WEC featherweight title. In the co-main event that evening, Jose Aldo knocked out Cub Swanson with a flying knee in 8 seconds, securing himself the next featherweight title shot.

2014: Ben Henderson submitted Rustam Khabilov with a rear-naked choke in the main event of UFC Fight Night 42. Also at this event, Rafael dos Anjos began his career defining run, bouncing back from a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov by stopping Jason High with punches in the second round.


Michael Bisping essentially called Jose Aldo a paper champ. That’s a thing that happened.

That’s all for today y’all. Take it easy and Conor bless.

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 it.

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