British Middleweight contender Michael Bisping returned to the octagon this past weekend by beating Alan Belcher as the co-main event at UFC 159. Before that, we last saw Bisping in January of this year, as he lost a title qualifier to Vitor Belfort. The fight this weekend ended poorly, as Belcher could not continue due to an eye poke and Bisping was comfortably ahead on the cards. There are a lot options for who Bisping fights next, and unfortunately for ‘The Count’ none of those options include Anderson Silva.
Now, a lot hinges on Anderson Silva beating Chris Weidman in his next match. Should he lose to Weidman, he would get an immediate rematch if he wants it and that would keep the rest of the division in a status quo until they fight again.
Should Silva win however, he would likely move on to bouts outside the division, ie superfights, which opens up the possibility of a vacant belt, or at least the activation of an interim title.
Bisping has been with the UFC a long time, he won a season of ‘TUF’ and he is probably the best British fighter on the roster right now (talent wise Rosi Sexton is, but that is another story). Why has he not gotten a title shot yet? Perhaps it is because he has always lost at the critical time. There is also the fact that despite a respectable following, not many outside of that group arehave been clamoring for a Bisping title shot. Maybe it is time to admit a title is above Bisping’s ceiling.
So it is time for a good old fashioned elimination match, loser leave the UFC. Michael Bisping vs Yushin Okami. Okami is a similar logjam in the rankings, having won 3 in a row. Still, no one is screaming to see him fight Silva again either. Both are on te higher end of the payscale. The UFC could save some money, and the fighter could return in a year for lesser pay. Makes business sense too.
Okami and Bisping have never fought, and they really are the top 2 veteran contenders in the division. It would be a difficult match to make odds on. Rather than give them an interim title, make Okami and Bisping fight for their UFC lives. People might care about these two that way….