Since Michael Bisping lost his belt to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 and followed up with another quick loss to Kelvin Gastelum, the middleweight division has smelled blood.
Countless fighters have called out the former champion in post-fight interviews in recent months in an effort to elevate their own careers. Bisping has stated over and over that he may never fight again but has left the door open for a retirement fight.
These three bouts would make the most sense to end Bisping’s amazing career.
Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold do not like each other. We have seen endless trash-talking between the pair over the years and it has not died down, even after two fights.
Rockhold got the better of the first bout, choking out Bisping in the second round to move closer to a title shot. Two fights later, Rockhold became the first man to defeat Chris Weidman, earning UFC gold. Rockhold was scheduled to face Weidman for a second time but after an injury to Weidman, Bisping stepped in on short notice. Bisping knocked out Rockhold in the first round, evening the score and taking the belt off his waist.
After all of that drama, none of the hatred between these two champions has subsided. Rockhold was last seen being brutally knocked out by Yoel Romero in a #1 contender fight. After that fight, Rockhold expressed his desire to move up to light heavyweight due to troubles with the weight cut; but he also called out Bisping. Michael Bisping said he would love to knock out Rockhold again but will not definitively say if he is interested in the matchup. If the contract is ever signed for this fight, fans will be treated to an exciting trilogy fight that is sure to have a fiery buildup.
Lyoto Machida (or Derek Brunson)
A month after being knocked out in the first round by Jacare Souza, Derek Brunson expressed interest in a fight with Michael Bisping. Bisping dismissed this idea, stating that he has “bigger fish to fry.” During this time, he was likely considering a fight with Lyoto Machida, who called Bisping out after a win over Eryk Anders. Bisping seemed excited about a possible bout with Machida, pointing out that he respects him and that Machida is also toward the end of his career. In a turn of events, Machida accepted a fight with Vitor Belfort in May, throwing Derek Brunson back into the mix.
The only reason that Lyoto Machida may still be an option despite his booking is Bisping’s willingness to wait. He has all but announced his retirement but the casual fan can tell from listening to him that the desire to fight is still within him. By the time Lyoto Machida is ready to fight again, the fire in Michael Bisping might be burning bright. If Bisping suddenly decides to fight sooner rather than later, Brunson might be the go-to option as one of the few middleweights without an opponent.
We can dream.
In a recent installment of his podcast “Believe You Me,” Bisping said that he is very close to retirement but also said he would be open to a fight with Nick Diaz. The UFC did not approach either fighter with the idea of this fight but rumors began to swirl. Though he was not presented with a contract, Bisping said that he would love to fight Diaz. While 185 lbs is not easy for Michael Bisping to make these days, he says he would consider a catchweight fight with Diaz.
These rumors began when Bisping and Diaz were hanging out at a club in New York and discussed fighting each other at catchweight. Chances are this was just two fighters messing around, but both men are at points in their careers where this fight could make sense. Diaz is coming off a USADA suspension and became eligible to fight ironically on April 20. This would be a great money fight for Nick Diaz to break back into the UFC while Bisping would be able to retire after a huge fight with an opponent he respects. The weight differential could be a huge roadblock in getting this deal done but if the UFC can agree on a catchweight bout, fans will be lining up to buy tickets the second they go on sale.