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Next Fights for Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold?

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Michael Bisping

The ‘Count’ lost his fourth UFC fight in seven matches on Saturday. However, all of those losses have come to top calibre fighters and while Bisping is 35-years-old, he still has a few good years left in MMA.

It is unlikely that Bisping will ever be a title contender given his constant losses against top five competition. Despite that, Bisping’s star status in the sport means that there are still ‘Big Money’ fights for the British fighter in the Octagon.

The array of cheers Bisping received upon his entrance to the Octagon in Sydney are a testament to his immense popularity amongst some MMA fans. Bisping is also a fighter some fans love to hate, however, largely as a result of his straight talking ways.

That, along with his tireless work ethic and his “never his die” style of fighting still makes him a priced possession in the UFC, and there are two ways the UFC can proceed with Bisping’s future fights.

Firstly, they can use him as a litmus test for up and coming fighters who are ready to have a crack on the top ten. That has the potential to boost the name value of those up and comers at the expense of Bisping, but it would not be making the most of Bisping’s popularity and talent.

The second, and perhaps most viable option, is to put him in fights against other popular, but not top five, fighters in Fight Night Main Events or on the main card of a Pay Per View.

One such fighter that springs to mind is Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin. The 40-year-old has fought in the UFC since 2005, while Bisping first entered the Octagon the year after. Despite both fighters’ long tenure in the UFC Middleweight division, they have never fought other.

Both have become stars and solid fighters in their own rights, which would make a Franklin vs. Bisping fight a popular one on just about any UFC card.

However, Franklin has not fought since his loss to Cung Le back in November 2012 and there has been no word on when he will fight again despite being on the UFC’s roster.

Franklin was also named as the Vice President of Singapore-based organisation One Fighting Champion in April and has been highly active promoting that organisation throughout Asia.

That begs the question as to whether Ace will grace the Octagon anytime soon. If he doesn’t, then he will not be a viable next fight for Bisping.

Another potential next fight could be James Te-Huna. Te-Huna may not have the same name value as fighters like Franklin, Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz and the like, but he is quite popular in his native New Zealand and Australia.

Bisping is also popular down under, as evidenced by the fact he has fought in three of the four UFC cards that have taken place in Sydney.

That would make a Bisping vs. Te Huna match a very strong co-main, or a decent Main Event for a future UFC card in Australia or New Zealand.

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