Michael Bisping is not the number one contender to Anderson Silva's middleweight title. Not even close.
After a controversially close decision win over Brian Stann at UFC 152 Bisping has a win streak of exactly one. He is 6-3 in his last nine fights. Nothing to sneeze at, for sure, but nothing that warrants a title shot, either. Especially not with so many others in the middleweight division riding impressive multi-fight win streaks against top competition.
But for whatever reason Bisping's name is often brought up when contenders are discussed. UFC President Dana White himself brought up the specter of Bisping challenging for a title Saturday night at the UFC on FX post event press conference.
Of a possible Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping fight White said, "it would be an interesting fight."
No it would not be. It would be a financially successful fight, especially if held in Bisping's native U.K. as White was discussing, but in terms of competition there's nothing that interesting about an over matched opponent getting an undeserved shot.
Dana White is a promoter, and a darned good one, so it is understandable that he's interested in propping up an outspoken and popular fighter from a country so important to the UFC's international expansion. Fans and media should not share his enthusiasm in this case, however.
Bisping has surely improved greatly as a fighter over the years, a credit to his incredible work ethic and intelligence, but he doesn't have the skill set or wins over top competition to put him anywhere near deserving a title shot at this point in his career. If he got a shot at Anderson Silva over the likes of Chris Weidman or Tim Boetsch it would undoubtedly be because of his accent and the volume at which he wields it.
Bisping has been his own most vocal supporter, even calling for a title shot when he was coming off of a loss. It seems that he might be trying to take a page out of Chael Sonnen's book and talk his way into championship fights.
But even Sonnen, whose personality and audacious trash talking of Anderson Silva helped make their two fights blockbusters, at least beat the people in front of him the first time around to make himself a believable and worthy challenger. After beating the then champion of a major organization (Paulo Filho in the now defunct WEC) Sonnen put three consecutive wins together against Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt.
By the time Chael started calling out Anderson Silva he had already made his best case in the Octagon. Bisping should do the same.
Anderson Silva is busy fighting at 205 pounds in October and then wants to fight Georges St. Pierre. But my pick for the man who deserves the next crack at his middleweight belt if the match up were made today is Chris Weidman.
Weidman is undefeated and riding a five fight win streak in the UFC. He's also dominated fellow top contender Mark Munoz and former title challenger Demian Maia.
Moreover, his size, strong wrestling and underrated Jiu Jitsu skills is the type of combination that could at least conceivably give Anderson Silva trouble. Bisping is very well rounded but does not do any thing well enough to give us reason to believe that he'd have a chance against Silva.
Bisping is not taking or keeping Silva down and it could get ugly if they stayed standing. He couldn't even manage to not constantly circle into Dan Henderson's power hand before getting knocked out brutally when they fought. If fighting Henderson on the feet was complicated, squaring up against Silva would be like mind boggling for "The Count."
The brash Brit is a tough out for almost anyone and he's been instrumental in helping MMA grow in the U.K. But until he can string together 3-5 more consecutive wins and manage to beat at least one top contender, he should keep Anderson Silva's name out of his mouth.
For their part, the UFC should stick to their regular practice of making the most interesting, legitimate match ups available. As it stands, Mike Bisping in a championship fight just doesn't fit that profile.
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- Michael Bisping
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