Bisping: No Rockhold Defence

After Michael Bisping‘s shock knockout win over Luke Rockhold in the first round of the main event at UFC 199, many fans and writers believed that an immediate rematch could be in the offing. But in conversation with ESPN, ‘The Count‘ made it clear he was having none of it.

Michael Bisping’s victory at UFC 199 was one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. And, in recent years, when such a result occurs, it has been the habit of the UFC to grant an immediate rematch to the deposed champion.

However, speaking with Brett Okamoto, the British middleweight was adamant that Rockhold would have to earn another title shot after being defeated so decisively in California:

“As of right now, Luke Rockhold will not be my first defense. That’s a fact. I had to go away and beat three more guys before I got a second shot at Luke. Certainly, after his behavior on Saturday, he should have to go away and do the same. He wasn’t even close. And it’s not like Luke beat me, then I beat Luke, so therefore we have to go again right away.

“The first fight was two years ago. Neither of us were champion then. He became champion, good for him. And I just knocked him out in the first round. Luke’s an incredible fighter. He probably has better technical skill than I do. He’s going to go away and do it the old-fashioned way like I had to.”

Bisping would not be drawn on the likely opponent for his first title defence, but it’s widely believed that the Englishman would love a chance to avenge his UFC 100 knockout to Dan Henderson, himself coming off a big win over Hector Lombard.

One thing he was clear on, however, is that he would dearly love to defend his belt in his home country:

“Unfortunately, I’m not going to give you a name. There is someone I’ve got my eye on, but ultimately it’s down to the UFC. I do get a say since I’m the champion, so that’s nice. But I’ve never turned down an opponent and I certainly don’t intend to start as a champion.

“We’ll see what happens. There’s plenty of viable contenders. Defending the title in the UK is certainly something I’d love to do, and I’ve already made it clear to Dana White that I would like to do that.

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