For the past nearly five years, Michael Bisping has come close on a couple of occasions to finally reaching his goal of getting a UFC middleweight title shot.
He came up short in both of those fights, losing once to Dan Henderson and, in the other, dropping a close decision to Chael Sonnen in a fight he took on a week's notice.
Now Bisping has been declared the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division by UFC president Dana White. All he has to do to get that elusive title shot is to get past Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 on Jan. 19.
In the past, Bisping has always come across as supremely confident, and maybe at times even cocky with his belief in himself, but looking back at those past fights he can honestly say it wasn't the right time to get a title shot and maybe that was the deciding factor in both losses.
The times have changed, however, and as he stands on the precipice of his UFC dream coming true, Bisping is as ready as he's ever been.
“In the past I've said I believed it, and I certainly talked the talk, but I think if I searched deep inside my soul, maybe I knew that I wasn't ready or maybe didn't fully expect to win. Now I know I'm one of the best in the world. I've been around this sport long enough. I'm very successful. I'm full of confidence. My skill set is better than it's ever been, my athletic ability is better than it's ever been, and I'm certainly in my prime,” Bisping told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I'm destined to be world champion. I will be world champion one day. You can guarantee that. I'm ready to take this title 100-percent.”
During Bisping's tenure in the UFC middleweight division, one man has stood as king the entire time. Anderson Silva‘s reign is nothing short of legendary, and he's held the title with an iron grip, destroying every middleweight that's stepped in front of him during his time as champion.
In recent interviews, Silva has expressed interest in a fight with Bisping, and the British born fighter takes that as an extreme compliment. One he hopes to pay back by earning the shot to face him in the Octagon later this year.
“It's like if you're a boxer and Floyd Mayweather's saying ‘that's the guy I want to fight next.' That's a huge compliment. It's the same with Anderson Silva. He's saying they've got their eyes on me. He obviously recognizes the talent, he recognizes the threat, he knows it's a marketable match-up. It's a fight people are going to pay to see,” said Bisping.
“It's very complimentary and it's a testament to what I've achieved and how hard I've worked in this sport.”
Silva is currently sitting out and awaiting word on his next fight, but if Bisping is successful this weekend in Brazil, the match-up will almost be a lock in the next few months.
“Anderson wants this fight as well; a lot of people will tune in to watch. I believe I can give Anderson a run for his money, certainly a much better fight than some of the other people have done lately,” Bisping stated.
Bisping isn't looking too far ahead because as much as he wants that title shot and a fight against Anderson Silva, it all goes away if he can't get past Vitor Belfort this weekend at UFC on FX 7. All of the accolades and compliments are nice, but Bisping wants a title shot, and to do that he knows he has to earn it.
“I've been after this for a long, long time,” said Bisping “But I've got to beat Vitor first.”