SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Michael Bisping of Great Britain walks to the ring for his fight against Jorge Rivera of the USA before their middleweight bout part of at UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Always the best man, never the groom.
Michael Bisping has stepped into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon on 15 different occasions since winning "The Ultimate Fighter" (TUF) 3 Light Heavyweight crown way back in 2006. "The Count" has, for the most part, been very consistent, racking up an impressive 11 wins, eight of which were in a Middleweight division starved for talent (at the time).
Despite his solid record, dearth of 185-pound talent that had the division champion, Anderson Silva, taking two fights against 205-pound guys (James Irvin and Forrest Griffin) -- and between them were the underwhelming Thales Leites and Patrick Cote -- and seemingly box office potential in a championship fight in the United Kingdom, Bisping has been stuck on the outside looking in.
And he's starting to get a little frustrated.
That's not to say he didn't have his opportunities; in fact, Bisping has had two potential eliminator matches and lost both of them. The first to a thunderous Dan Henderson hook and the second more recently to an overwhelming wrestling attack of Hendo's Team Quest teammate, Chael Sonnen.
It's the latter loss that had Bisping fired up last night (July 7, 2012) in the wake of UFC 148. That's because had he defeated Sonnen earlier this year it most likely would have been him locked inside the cage with "The Spider." And according to him, he would have lasted longer than two rounds, which is as far as Sonnen could get after swinging, missing and falling with perhaps the most puzzling spinning backfist in modern mixed martial arts (MMA) history.
Check out what Bisping had to shout during the UFC 148 post-event show on FUEL TV:
"It's easy to say, 'take Anderson Silva down.' Chael is an amazing wrestler -- he went to the Olympics I think. Not everybody can do that. I'm not that level of wrestler. I can wrestle a little bit, but I'm not Chael Sonnen. But, I can kickbox [much] better than Chael Sonnen can. I won't get knocked out in the second round like Chael Sonnen did. That's a fact.... You're a fool to bet against Anderson. He's amazing. For me, personally, I want to fight the guy because I want to see how I can do against him. I've beat a lot of guys, but I want to fight that guy. I think I can do better. And I'm never going to know that until I get in there with him. Yes, I want to fight him. Yes, I want to get paid for a title shot. Yes, I want the main event. I want all that. For me, personally, for my mind and soul, I want to fight the guy just to know how I would do. I think I can do better than Chael Sonnen did. In fact, I know I can do better than what Chael Sonnen did."
For what it's worth, Silva has expressed interest in fighting Bisping at some point, even suggesting that he'd be open to once again entering "Hostile Territory" for a major fight in England. Even if "major fight" and "England" don't ever seem to go hand-in-hand. Ever.
But, there is a first time for everything ... and that would be a great way to reward the combat sports fans across the pond.
Unfortunately, it's likely not going to happen anytime soon. Bisping needs to first get back in the win column, which will most likely come at the expense of Brian Stann or Alan Belcher later this year if at all. Bisping has called both of them out and "All American" and "The Talent" have responded in kind.
No announcement on Bisping's next fight has been made at this time.
In addition to getting back in the win column, Bisping now has to contend with a much more competitive division. Promotional newcomer Hector Lombard has some cache and could be an attractive option should he topple Tim Boetsch -- who Bisping was supposed to fight before undergoing knee surgery -- in his Octagon debut at UFC on FOX 4 next month. The winner of the fight between Mark Munoz vs. Chris Weidman at UFC on FUEL TV 4 later this week will also likely merit consideration.
There's also the unlikely possibility that whoever Silva gets next will win and derail any of Bisping's hopes to fight Silva for a title. But, if that happens, maybe he'll finally get the opportunity to see just how much better than Sonnen he really can perform against the best Middleweight MMA fighter ever.
Either way, careful what you wish for, Michael.