Michael Bisping disagrees with Dricus Du Plessis shutting down Khamzat Chimaev as title challenger

Michael Bisping argues that Khamzat Chimaev should be the next No. 1 contender at middleweight.

In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Dricus Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) said if he dethrones middleweight champion Sean Strickland in Saturday’s UFC 297 headliner, a fight with Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) wouldn’t make sense.

Du Plessis questioned Chimaev’s resume at middleweight give he’s fought just three times at 185 pounds in the UFC, defeating John Phillips, Gerald Meerschaert, and former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. His resume might not be the strongest, but Bisping made a case for him being next in line.

“Sean Strickland’s a welterweight. Sean Strickland started his career as a welterweight,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “Of course he came up to 185, and the man’s become a champion. Robert Whitaker, the last guy that Dricus beat, was a welterweight before he came up to 185. Khamzat Chimaev? Yes, fought the bulk of his career at welterweight, but he has fought at 185 on two occasions – Gerald Meerschaert one-punch knockout and then a back-and-forth, very close fight with Kamaru Usman, and he was pretty much guaranteed a title fight by Dana White if I’m not mistaken, so that is the next fight.

“He’s talking about fighting Israel Adesanya, and that does make sense. I feel like I talked about this recently: Dricus Du Plessis, if he does become the champion, there’s a lot of options for him right, but No. 1 option is probably Khamzat Chimaev. Yes, Israel Adesanya, there is beef there. They’ve squared off in the octagon, they’ve went back and forth, they’re both claiming to be the real African and all this type of stuff. There’s a lot of hype and promo material for that fight. However, Israel just came out, he’s injured, he’s actually attending rehab as we speak.”

Bisping also thinks Chimaev’s popularity should be an added incentive. Although his win over Usman came over a former welterweight standout, Bisping says it’s still a pivotal one.

“Chimaev is ranked No. 9, OK? And that’s probably another reason why Dricus says that he doesn’t deserve it,” Bisping said. “OK, fair enough. He’s ranked No. 9, but he’s got a ton of hype. He just beat Kamaru Usman, who yes, was a welterweight, but he was the pound-for-pound No. 1.

“He was a longtime welterweight champion for many defenses and on top of that Dana said whoever wins, Kamaru or Khamzat, they get to fight for the belt, so there it is there. Khamzat Chimaev is also undefeated, he’s (7-0) in the UFC, and he’s a big star right. Khamzat Chimaev gets numbers.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie