They say, ‘good things come to those who wait,' and that's certainly true for Michael “The Count” Bisping. He entered the Octagon for the 26th time on Saturday when he faced Luke Rockhold for the middleweight championship in the UFC 199 main event. It was the Brit's first title shot, and he made the most of the moment.
Rockhold was originally slated to face former titleholder Chris Weidman, but Weidman was forced out of the rematch due to a neck injury. Bisping agreed to step in as a replacement on 17-days notice. Leading up to the event, Bisping stated that becoming a UFC cham pion was his ‘destiny.' It turned out to be true.
The two fought for the first time in November 2014 in Australia. Rockhold finished Bisping early in the second round via submission after knocking Bisping down with a head kick. Bisping maintained that the rematch would be different, and it was. During the build up to the rematch, it quickly became a grudge match.
Rockhold took the center of the cage, but Bisping was looking to throw first and land first. Rockhold employed his typical kicking attack, and may have hurt Bisping with a shin to the body at one point, but Bisping continued to fire away with punches. He came up big after Rockhold overcommitted with a right hand. Bisping dropped Rockhold with a counter left. Rockhold quickly got back to his feet and tried to clinch, but Bisping knocked him down again with another left hook. Rockhold crashed to the canvas along the cage, and Bisping unloaded two more right hands that finished the fight.
Immediately after the knockout win, Bisping looked at the camera and said, ““That was easy. That was the easiest fight of my life.”
“Listen, I've got to be humble here, even though I want to be as a**hole,” he said during his post-fight interview. “Obviously I am so happy right now. I started fighting when I came out of my mother really. I have always been a fighter. It always got me in trouble, but there's nothing better I do in this life than fighting.”
“This is my dream. Nobody was taking this away from me. Two weeks notice, as I said, two days, two hours, two minutes — I'll fight anyone,” he added. “Other than my children and my wife, this is the greatest day of my life.”
It was Rockhold's first title defense since winning it at UFC 194 in December. He was humbled in defeat and believes that he may have come into the fight a bit too confident.
“Congrats to Michael. He caught me. I just didn't see it happening. I took him for granted,” he said. “He's a tough guy. He's a warrior. I have to credit him. I have to give him respect in the cage, but I'll be back.”