It’s official: Michael Bisping’s first middleweight title defense will be against Dan Henderson. UFC president Dana White announced the fight, along with a potential location, during the UFC 200 post-fight show on FOX Sports 1.
“We’re going to do Dan Henderson versus Michael Bisping,” White said. “It’s a fight that the champ wants, it’s a fight that the fans want. And hopefully in Manchester. We’re thinking about doing it in Manchester, England. But that’s not signed yet.”
If the UFC comes through on bringing the fight to Manchester, it will be a special affair: Bisping is the first British champion, so of course it would be the first UFC title defended by a Brit in England. Bisping and Henderson also have history that goes back to UFC 100, when Hendo knocked the Brit out with a fierce overhand right and then followed up with a devastating hammerfist to his unconscious opponent’s jaw.
“Normally I’m not that way in fights,” Henderson said at the time. “If I know the guy is out, I tend to stop. I know I hit him out, and I think that one was just to shut him up a little bit.”
The knockout went on to become one of the most iconic knockouts in modern UFC history, so it’s understandable that Bisping would like to avenge the loss. That worked in Henderson’s favor, as the 45 year old has a 2-2 record since returning to 185 and is far behind other middleweights in the rankings like Jacare, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold.
“Dan Henderson is someone that I would like to shut up,” Bisping explained to TMZ last month. “I owe him one, he knocked me out in the past. I know that guy’s on borrowed time, he’s an old man. But he’s still got the knockout power. So before he goes, before he walks off into the sunset and retires, I owe him a knockout, so that would be fun.
“Henderson’s gonna die soon, so I might as well knock him out,” Bisping continued. “I might as well put him in the grave.”
And for the fans complaining that this isn’t a case of the number one contender (or a top-five ranked fighter, for that matter) getting a title shot, Bisping had a message for them too.
“Don’t worry, I will take them all on. I plan on having that belt for a long time. Weidman, Rockhold again, Jacare, whoever the hell you are, round them up, I will knock them down.”