Perennial UFC Middleweight contender Michael Bisping has seen some bad luck as of late. Last seen defeating Alan Belcher back at UFC 159, Bisping ran into a roadblock after a detached retina forced him out of his scheduled UFC Fight Night 30 main event against Mark Munoz.
“The Count” had to have surgery on the eye, but apparently it went quite swimmingly. Bisping showed up on “UFC Tonight” to announce he’ll be back to training quite soon:
"I was at the doctors this morning, they've given me the green light to start proper training again. I've been running and lifting weights for awhile. Now I can get back in the gym and start working on a few things. I can definitely fight around March or April next year.”
March or April of next year is still a bit of a ways off, leaving the UFC plenty of time to find Bisping a suitable return opponent. The promotion will of course be hosting a March 8 event at the O2 Arena in London, so that could be a great place for Bisping to make his way back into the fold.
Or it could be too soon.
Either way, Bisping has recently been rumored to face off with former Army Green Beret Tim Kennedy, who recently knocked out Rafael Natal with a huge left hand at UFC Fight for the Troops 3. Bisping insists that he’d rather fight a bigger name like Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza or the new-to-Middleweight Lyoto Machida, but those two are already booked.
So if the UFC comes calling with an offer to fight Kennedy, Bisping will be happy to oblige his longtime employer:
"I wouldn't say there's been back and forth with Tim Kennedy. I'd say there's been Tim Kennedy chomping at the bit, trying to make a name for himself. He came over from Strikeforce, he's had a couple wins over people I've never heard of, and he's trying to get some notoriety. Of course, people like to call me out, I'm no stranger to that. Good for him. I've never turned down an opponent once, I'm not going to start with Tim Kennedy. If that's who the UFC wants, I'll be happy to fight him. Myself personally, I would like someone ranked a little higher up the ladder, someone in the top five maybe. But it's down to the UFC."
Bisping may have a point that Kennedy hasn’t fought anybody with huge recognition. However, he needs to be cautious in doing so. Although Bisping has fought some of the best fighters mixed martial arts has had to offer, he hasn’t exactly fared well against top competition. His losses to Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Rashad Evans, and Chael Sonnen are a testament to that.
So he’s kind of stuck in a Middleweight no-man’s land as of right now and that’s definitely not a good thing. The 185-pound arena is arguably the most talented it has ever been at the top right now. There’s not a lot of wiggle room for Bisping to fit in as a true contender.
What will be “The Count’s” next move?