When Chris Weidman was forced to pull out of his scheduled rematch against Luke Rockhold, No. 4-ranked Michael Bisping answered the call to step into the first title shot of his 10-year UFC career.
While we all know that ‘The Count’ can hold his own against any man in the UFC when it comes to trash talking, can he really hold his own against the true elite of the 185-pound division at UFC 199? Not likely.
Regardless of his recent win over a past-his-prime Anderson Silva, who looked like a shell of his former self in late February, Bisping is going against a man who hasn’t lost in over two years and is coming off the biggest victory of his career.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at the five reasons why Michael Bisping has no shot at beating Luke Rockhold at UFC 199…
5. Standup Game
When it comes to the standup game, the clear edge has to be given to Rockhold. The champ has one of the most devastating body kicks in the game, which he used to take out Costas Philippou at UFC Fight Night 35.
Bisping has not registered a successful TKO win in over two years, when he defeated Cung Le at UFC Fight Night 48 in 2014 . ”The Count’ has also been finished by some arguably superior strikers such as Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, and interestingly enough, Rockhold.
While Rockhold did defeat Bisping via mounted guillotine choke at their initial meeting at UFC Fight Night 55 back in 2014, it was a vicious left head kick that sent the Brit crashing down.
If Bisping decides to try and stand with the 185-pound champ, he might just be in for a rude awakening.
Rockhold’s ground game is one of the best there is in the middleweight division, and a huge part of it is obviously due to his world-class jiu-jitsu.
The champ currently holds a black belt under Leandro Vierra, and also owns nine submission victories out of his fifteen career wins. As mentioned, Rockhold also submitted Bisping in their initial encounter with a mounted guillotine in the second round.
Bisping, on the other hand, holds a brown belt in Yawara Rya jiu-jitsu, and has only been able to muster up a grand total of four submission victories as opposed to Rockhold’s nine.
The fact that ‘The Count’ has tapped to the San Jose native’s superior jiu-jitsu before does not bode well for him, so don’t be surprised if you see Bisping taking an early flight back to London after being choked out once more.
3. Training Partners
The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) has produced some of the finest combat sports champions in recent memory; all you need to do is just look at their track record as proof.
You have the former heavyweight champion and arguably greatest heavyweight of all-time in Cain Velasquez, the powerhouse wrestling phenom that is Khabib Nurmagomedov, the current light heavyweight champion of the world in Daniel Cormier, and the man who will defend his title this weekend in Rockhold.
Rockhold has the opportunity to train with one of the best strikers in the heavyweight division in Velasquez, who hits harder than anyone the champ will thrown down with at 185 pounds.
Cormier is an Olympic wrestler who has rag-dolled the majority of the light heavyweight division, and has some of the nastiest ground-and-pound in the game. And Nurmagomedov is an exact, and arguably better, version of Cormier in the 155-pound division.
With all of these training partners to help prepare Rockhold to defend his title, it’s going to be hard for Bisping to throw anything at the champ he hasn’t seen before.
2. Size & Athleticism
Luke Rockhold is a genetic freak. The champ comes from a family of athletes and is the most successful of them all. Rockhold’s brother, Matt, is a pro surfer, while their father, Steve, was a professional basketball player in Europe.
Rockhold first started his MMA journey at the age of six when he began training Judo, he then began training Brazilian jiu-jitsu in college and won three tournaments in the process.
In 2006 Rockhold began his MMA tenure when he joined the American Kickboxing Academy and took his first professional fight just a year later.
Rockhold’s incredible physique is a result of his extensive years of training, as well as his gifted DNA passed down from his athletic family. Bisping has no such athletic family history, and didn’t begin training in MMA until the age of nineteen.
While Bisping has competed in the sport far longer than Rockhold, the 185-pound champ has faced and beaten far higher level competition in his MMA career.
Rockhold has defeated some huge names in the sport such as Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza, Michael Bisping, and former champion Chris Weidman.
Bisping is approaching his first-ever title opportunity in his 10-year UFC career, having come up short in two arguable title eliminator bouts against Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson.
‘The Count’ has finally earned his opportunity at the middleweight crown, coming off of the biggest win of his career when he defeated Anderson Silva in his hometown of London via unanimous decision.
Even then Bisping barely survived after nearly being finished by a flying knee from ‘The Spider;’ however, he was saved by the bell after Silva walked away and failed to get the finish in the closing seconds of the third round.
Bisping has just never been able to get over that hump of defeating superior competition, and he most likely will come up short-handed once again when he takes on the bigger, younger, and more skilled reigning middleweight champ Saturday.