Say what you want about lippy Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Michael Bisping, but there is no denying he's a tough guy to finish. Coming into the UFC Fight Night 55 event on Friday night (Nov. 7, 2014), the brash Brit hadn't been submitted in 31 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fights.
Then came Luke Rockhold.
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion -- who clearly refuted this claim -- dominated "The Count" en route to a submission victory in the UFC Fight Pass main event in Sydney, Australia (full results here). It wasn't the first-round finish he was willing to wager his purse on, but it was still pretty impressive.
Head kick, guillotine choke, ball game.
Well, that's a good question, and may depend on what happens when Chris Weidman defends his middleweight title against Vitor Belfort in the UFC 184 pay-per-view (PPV) main event in just a few months. Rockhold was knocked out by "The Phenom" in early 2013 in what was dubbed the "TRT-era."
And Ronaldo Souza has been running the table at 185 pounds, winning seven straight with six finishes.
Rockhold defeated "Jacare" in late 2011 in a close fight that went to the judges' scorecards. So does the loss to Belfort cancel out his win over Souza? In my book, it makes them even, and I wouldn't be opposed to a rematch to determine a true middleweight No. 1 contender.
But Plan B isn't so bad, either.
If you elevated Rockhold to No. 1 contender based on the strength of his victory over Bisping, the promotion could then send Souza into a showdown opposite surging Olympian Yoel Romero, who is 5-0 under the ZUFFA banner with four violent finishes.
Or vice versa.
Either way, the middleweight division is fun again, and we have a couple of interesting matchmaking scenarios to ponder for 2015. The only downside is that Bisping, one of the most reliable fighters at 185 pounds, will have no choice but to exit stage left.
Where the loser of Lyoto Machida vs. CB Dollaway will likely be waiting.