“The middleweight title picture in the Ultimate Fighting Championship is about to get weird.
Newly minted middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 204 on Saturday in Manchester, England, will defend his belt for the first time in his home country against Dan Henderson, who knocked him senseless seven years ago at UFC 100. “The Count” was long considered past the point of being a serious title contender, but “The Ultimate Fighter 3” winner has since experienced a late-career resurgence that culminated in a first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in June. This will be the first time Bisping fights three times in a year since 2010. It will also be his 27th fight in the UFC, which will tie him with Frank Mir and Tito Ortiz for the most all-time.
It is not often that a single-fight winning streak earns a crack at the title, but that is exactly where Henderson finds himself. The 46-year-old is a legend of the sport, though he has not won back-to-back fights since 2011. The former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder is 2-2 since dropping back to middleweight in 2015. His last fight was a second-round knockout of Hector Lombard, which happened the same night that Bisping claimed the title. Prior to that, “Hendo” was 2-6 over the course of four years and hardly in the title hunt. This will be his second fight of the year and quite possibly the final fight of his storied, decades-long career.
This is not the average title fight, but it is an intriguing matchup for several narrative and stylistic reasons. Here is what the Tale of the Tape has to say…”