UFC’s middleweight division has proven to be a subject that creates a lot of debate. There are several fighters who are very close in terms of career position and their place within the rankings. Many fighters claim to be ready to fight champion Anderson Silva. Silva, however, doesn’t think any of them pose much of a threat—and that makes things even more convoluted at 185. One fighter who also creates a lot of polarizing viewpoints is Michael Bisping. Let’s take a look at both the pro and con argument of The Count taking over as “next in line” for Silva’s coveted UFC belt.
PRO: Bisping is the #1 Contender
Bisping has had 17 fights in the UFC, winning all but four of them. His losses have been against some the top talent in the division at that time. His current streak of five wins in six fights puts him at or near the top of the division. In fact, his only loss during that time was to Chael Sonnen. Although he came up short with the judges, many feel Bisping won the fight. One thing that is clear about that fight is that Bisping fought Sonnen better than anyone has—with the exception of Silva himself. He’s more than paid his dues and is ready for the title shot. His boxing and wrestling has never been better and he has perhaps the most well-rounded game in the entire division. And, by the way, he’s a pretty good draw. Put him in a main event against Silva, and it’s sure to sell. Can you imagine that headlining an event in the UK? Somebody…anybody…PLEASE give this guy a title shot? How long does he have to wait?
CON: Bisping is NOT the #1 Contender
Bisping is a gatekeeper. He’s a very good fighter with above average skills, but that isn’t how you earn a title shot. Although his record is outstanding, who has he ever beaten? His wins are over lower and middle level fighters. In fact, his win over Brian Stann—who isn’t a top 10 fighter—is easily Bisping’s highest profile victory. Quite frankly, that’s not good enough. He relies on his boxing to beat up his opponents, but he’s not powerful in the least. Nor is he quick or elusive. Stann connected and almost knocked his head off. Can you imagine what Silva will do to him? I have a hard time placing a #1 contender label on anyone whose highest accomplishment is losing to Chael Sonnen. Hell, a tired Wanderlei Silva beat him and no one even cares. When I see guys like Chris Weidman racking up top 10 wins one-by-one, I don’t think I’m being unfair when I request that Bisping just beat ONE top 10 fighter—in his entire career—before handing him a title shot. My answer is no…Bisping isn’t worthy of a title fight.