Michael Bisping targets Costa Philippou fight in Manchester with Cung Le unavailable

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

TUF 3 winner Michael Bisping is targeting a return to the Octagon when the UFC travels to his home country of England later this year, and "The Count" has his eye on a match up with Constantinos Philippou.

After receiving call outs from several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights, it appears Constantinos Philippou is the winner of the Michael Bisping sweepstakes.

Multiple fighters including Philippou, Luke Rockhold, Rich Franklin and Cung Le have expressed interest in fighting "The Count" in recent months, and while Le was the top choice, an injury will keep the former Strikeforce champion on the sidelines beyond Bisping's return date, which is targeted for sometime in the fall in Manchester, England.

Ariel Helwani reported the news on Tuesday's (July 2, 2013) edition of FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight," stating that the camps of both Bisping and Philippou would like to make a fight happen between the 185-pound contenders.

After losing his UFC debut on short notice, Philippou (12-2, 1 NC) has reeled off five-straight victories including a third-round (technical) knockout of Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 last December.

"Costas" was scheduled to face Ronaldo Souza at UFC on FX 8 last May, but was forced to withdraw from the event just weeks before the fight due to a facial laceration suffered in training.

Since then, Philippou has changed training camps and campaigned for a fight with Bisping and may very well get his wish.

Bisping (24-5), on the other hand, has been forced to sit on the sidelines since his decision win over Alan Belcher at UFC 159 due a surgery to repair a detached retina in his eye.

The 34-year-old was on the verge of accomplishing his goal of fighting for the title at the beginning of 2013; however, a head kick knockout loss to Vitor Belfort in January was a massive set back.

Bisping managed to rally from the devastating loss with a dominant win over Belcher, and should he get by Philippou would be one step closer to earning a No. 1 contenders position.

UFC officials have not confirmed the contest at this time, but be sure to stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on this match up and the upcoming fight card in Manchester.

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