The rivalry between The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 coaches, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, will culminate at UFC 100 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 11.
UFC President Dana White today confirmed the long-rumored match up in an interview with Setanta.com. And he also revealed that with a win "The Count" would earn a title shot, which would "probably" take place in the United Kingdom later this year.
Bisping -- TUF 3 light heavyweight winner and current British UFC posterboy -- was always a clear choice for the position, considering TUF 9 will be themed, "U.S. vs. U.K." His role was bolstered following a unanimous decision victory over Chris Leben at UFC 89 in October 2008.
He has looked reborn since dropping down from 205 to 185 pounds, thrashing Jason Day at UFC 85: "Bedlam" and putting it on Charles McCarthy for the majority of the first round to earn a technical knockout win after "Chainsaw" could not answer the bell for the second frame.
This is without question the biggest fight of Bisping's career. Not only because it has title shot implications, but because Henderson is a crafty veteran who has competed against many of the best in the sport throughout his prestigious career.
Indeed, Henderson would be a huge feather in the Brit's cap and perhaps signal a changing of the guard in the 185-pound division.
Henderson earned his spot as coach with a hard-fought split decision win over Rich Franklin at UFC 93 just last month. He was a member of the United States Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team in 1992 and 1996 and has competed all over the world both as an amateur in wrestling and as a professional in mixed martial arts.
"Hollywood" is the only the only fighter in the history of the sport to hold two titles in two weight classes concurrently in a major fight organization as he held the now defunct PRIDE’s 205 pound and 185 pound titles.
In short, he has a remarkable resume. But he has slowed down a bit since the end of 2005, finishing just one opponent (Wanderlei Silva) in his last nine fights. During that span he has won six of those contests.
The 185-pound tilt between Bisping and Henderson will be a featured bout on the historic pay-per-view (PPV) card alongside the welterweight championship showdown between Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves, which will likely receive top billing.
TUF 9 will feature a mix of lightweight and welterweight hopefuls competing for a "six figure" UFC contract in a tournament-style format. Production for the Spike TV mixed martial arts reality series is currently underway and is scheduled to debut on the network on April 1.