Rockhold: ‘No One’ Has Avoided Every Contender Like Bisping


Nearly a year-and-a-half after Michael Bisping shockingly knocked him out in the first round of their short-notice main event at June 2015’s UFC 199, former UFC middleweight champ Luke Rockhold finally returned to the octagon when he stopped former WSOF champ David Branch in the second round of their main event at last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 116 from Pittsburgh.

After the win, Rockhold took an opportunity to call out Bisping for waiting over an entire year to fight returning former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at November 4’s UFC 217 from New York City, a fight that most believe “The Count” held out for due to the massive expected payday.

With only one title defense – and over retiring No. 14 legend Dan Henderson, no less – in his reign since defeating Rockhold, many fans have blasted the brash Brit on several occasions for his seeming unwillingness to fight the top contenders at middleweight such as Yoel Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. The two top-ranked but aging stars were eventually knocked off by interim champ Robert Whittaker, causing an absolute mess in one of the UFC’s most talented divisions.

So Rockhold won’t pull any punches in his criticism of Bisping’s reign, offering the belief that it’s the worst in UFC history on this evening’s episode of “UFC Tonight”:

“I think it’s the worst in UFC history. No one has ever gotten that treatment, no one has avoided every top contender. He was supposed to fight Jacare, he avoided that, he was supposed to fight Yoel, he avoided that, and somehow he’s getting away from this fight with Whittaker. He found Dan Henderson, the No. 14th-ranked at the time, and now he’s going for GSP, you know? He hasn’t done anything. I fought a guy that’s four spots higher than the guy he fought, his title defense.”

Photo Credit: Jake Roth for USA TODAY Sports

As for how he would respond to Bisping’s supposed running, Rockhold said all he could do was put himself in a position to earn a title shot, and at that point, it will be up to Bisping if he’s going to accept the awaited trilogy match after Rockhold won their first bout in November 2014:

“I’m going to put myself in position. He’s going to have a choice. Either he stands and fights like a man, or he runs. And we all know what he’s doing. He’s ran from the start and it looks like he’s going to run to the finish.”

The former champion wouldn’t take it easy on St-Pierre, either, offering the assessment that his title fight with Bisping was ridiculous in that ‘GSP’ has been retired for four years and has also never fought at middleweight:

“Look in the history of the UFC – have we ever had a champion that hasn’t defended his belt in a year-and-a-half and not fought one contender? GSP is irrelevant at 185; he retired for four years, never fought a man at ’85. Take the title away and make a fight that is real, make it a stage, there’s just no point. What they’re doing right now is lost.”

  • Lou Lalone

    bisping deserves a big money fight,rockhold will get another shot.

    • Draven

      What’s he done to deserve a money fight? He’s ran from every top contender and has yet to defend the title against a top middleweight. His reign has been disgraceful to the title’s lineage.

      • RMRyan

        Most fights and most wins in ufc history, I don’t really like Bisping but if anyone is due a decent payday from the UFC its him.

        • Draven

          Those records don’t mean much when he hasn’t beaten any elite fighters decisively? Almost got KOed by old men in Silva and Hendo while scoring a fluke KO over Rockhold who didn’t take him seriously. Bisping has more wins over gatekeepers than high level fighters. He should defend the title against top middleweights first, that’s how u earn a payday fight. Actions speak louder than words.

          • RMRyan

            I understand your point, but if you’ve worked for a company for the majority of your career would you not want something back before you check out?

          • Draven

            Yes but you have to earn it. Bisping keeps asking for money fights but what has he done to earn it since becoming champion?

          • RMRyan

            Hes already earned it in my opinion, you’re entitled to yours, I guess you’ve only been watching MMA for a couple of years. He earned the right well before he even became the champ

          • Draven

            Beating gatekeepers and losing to elite fighters isn’t earning it.

          • marcin ktoss

            Losing to elite steroid users….

          • Draven

            Hendo never used steroids, Rockhold never used steroids, Kennedy never used steroids, Rashad never used steroids.

            Yeah, keep coming up with excuses!

  • Bill Wolf

    Germaine de Randamie was the least impressive champion I’m aware of. She gained the title in an unimpressive fight where her best punches were foul blows thrown after the bell. Many people didn’t think she had done enough to win. (Not me; I agree she won.) Then she played yes-no games, saying she did or she didn’t need hand surgery before fighting again. Then when it turned out that she wasn’t going to be allowed to duck Cris Cyborg, Germaine de Randamie refused to defend her title, and vacated the division, all the while blaming the challenger and taking no responsibility for her own actions.

  • Wabbit

    Rockhold can yap all he likes…Bisping beat the overconfident twerp fair and square.

  • JamesC


    Stop hating on Bisping…btw…Hendo was on TRT.

    Bisping has made tons of money for the UFC. He opened the UFC to the European market. Which means w/o Bisping there is no Connor.

    The MW division was never very strong and he has beaten and lost to some solid guys. his last 3 wins are against Hendo, Anderson and Rockhold. Sorry he didn’t face big names like Romero and Jacre.

    Lets go through the guys who have beaten him with chemical help. Belfort, Sonnen, Hendo, and W. Silva.

  • Sébastien Poitras

    The guy who gave Bisping the belt should be the only one NOT allowed to bitch about his reign.

    • JamesC

      Correction…nobody gave Bisping the belt. He beat someone up for it.

  • Bk

    look you can defend him all day but he is tying up the division period. he defended against Hendo who was nowhere near a title shot and still didn’t beat him the way he should. Andersen and whomever were before he got the belt so cut out the dumb shit please. once you get the title it starts from there. as of right now he’s defended it against Hendo and now he’s going after GSP. it’s a farce… period. fuck his big payday.

    • JamesC

      No…the UFC is tying up the division. He can ask for whatever he wants. Doesn’t mean they have to give it to him. Its not Bispings fault for asking. Plenty of people have asked for things. Anderson asked to fight Roy Jones, Aldo asked to fight Pettis, Stipe has asked to fight Anthony Joshua,