When Conor McGregor became the biggest star in MMA, and challenged for the lightweight title while still holding the featherweight belt, it ushered in a new era of MMA - The Superfight Era. Sure, before McGregor there had been superfights occasionally, but with the kind of money McGregor was able to bring to MMA in his fights with Nate Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, and Floyd Mayweather Jr., other fighters began to push far more aggressively for their own superfights. The logical conclusion of this then happened last year, when Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal fought for the BMF title, a creation entirely of Diaz’s own invention that was coopted by the UFC for promotional purposes. Now, even more fighters are pushing for the creation of their own titles and belts and once former champion is getting sick of it all.
Speaking recently on his Believe You Me podcast, former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping vocalized his thoughts on the superfight era, saying that he’s getting tired of champions trying to jump around and fight for multiple belts instead of defend the ones they already have.
“I’m sick of all this talk of superfights, if I’m honest,” Bisping said (h/t BJPenn.com). “I want to see the champions defending the belts. All of this jumping around… I think last year and the year before, it all got a little silly.”
Interestingly enough, Bisping himself was the recipient of his own form of superfight, arguably two. After claiming the middleweight title with an upset knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, Bisping’s first title defense was against the aging veteran Dan Henderson. Despite other contenders being available at the time, Henderson got the title shot off the back of an impressive KO and because of the feud he and Bisping had built up over the years, as well as some sort of a lifetime achievement title shot. After Bisping scraped by with a narrow win, he then delayed his next title defense until he could take on former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who was returning to the sport after nearly a four-year layoff. At the time, Bisping rightly said that facing St-Pierre was the right move for him because he deserved a big money fight after his years of service to the company. Bisping ended up getting choked unconscious in the third round.
That being said, 2019 did seem to show a rise in the superfight calls with the debut of the BMF title and with (then) champ-champ Henry Cejudo doing his level best to fight anyone other than the top-ranked contenders at either flyweight or bantamweight. The UFC eventually stripped Cejudo of his flyweight title due to his inactivity and Bisping believes that could be a sign of things to come for the UFC, a time where they stop prioritizing these superfights that logjam divisions.
“Going forward, I feel like the UFC aren’t going to be too quick to make those superfights anymore,” Bisping said. “Cause whilst they do capture the imagination of the public, [the UFC is] just stripping Henry Cejudo of the 125 [pound belt]. It’s going to be Joseph Benavidez taking on [Deiveson] Figueiredo for the vacant flyweight title. That’s what they’ve got to do. The only real double-champ that’s left now is Amanda Nunes, and even her, she’s having trouble finding challenges at 145 [pounds]. I feel the only reason she hasn’t been stripped [of that belt] yet is there isn’t anyone at ’45 to take her place.”
Then again, maybe not. Heading into 2020, Conor McGregor has made it known he intends to reclaim the lightweight title and has designs on the welterweight strap, Jon Jones has been heavily teasing a move up to heavyweight, and Israel Adesanya has been ferociously feuding with Jones, possibly setting up a superfight between the two.
You can’t unring the bell, Bisping.
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Dan Hooker training camp.
10 last minute injuries that cancelled big fights.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Conor getting his own kicks?
I like the poster.
Tony perfecting his first pitch.
Exclusive LEAKED clip of Tony Ferguson training camp pic.twitter.com/TDvmcBBbQL— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) January 10, 2020
Diego throwing shade at Jackson-Wink.
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Nicest MFer in the game.
Rachel Ostovich got got.
I support and appreciate you Phillip!! I also get bullied, especially on social media!!! I know it’s hard but don’t let em get to you! Stay strong and keep being YOU. You’re not alone. God Bless! @McGregorRousey https://t.co/30m4Fxtkmx— rachaelostovich (@rachaelostovich) January 9, 2020
UFC Rio Rancho poster.
Ava Knight (1-0) vs. Emilee Gettys (3-3); Bellator 238, Jan. 25.
Ricky Bandejas (12-3) vs. Frans Miambo (8-4); Bellator Dublin, Feb. 22.
Patricio Freire (30-4) vs. Pedro Carvalho (11-3); Bellator 241, March 13.
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