After a stoppage victory over Jorge Rivera tonight at UFC 127, Michael Bisping is now on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, so what comes next for the British star?
While not ready for a title shot against Anderson Silva yet, it’s quite possible that he’s now in the title mix, and in fact Silva has welcomed a fight with him in the future.
What he needs now is at least one win over a top contender if he wants to achieve his dream of fighting for the belt.
There’s plenty of candidates waiting for him. For example, Dana White recently stated that the man who was believed to be the No.1 contender, Yushin Okami will probably fight once more before being awarded a title shot, and that could leave Bisping in the running to face him.
Given the success of the rivalry between Bisping and Rivera in attracting interest to UFC 127 however, the UFC might be tempted to put him in another grudge match instead.
Since the Brit has a knack of rubbing people up the wrong way there’s a few potential candidates here!
Chael Sonnen and Bisping have already been trading insults over the internet since last year, and if Sonnen escapes a jail sentence for his money laundering charge at the end of March, that could leave him free to fight ‘The Count’ in a matter of months.
A rematch with another rival Wanderlei Silva could also be under consideration given that the Brazilian is well on the road to recovery after a knee operation, and is currently without an opponent.
Nate Marquardt would be a fighter that could offer Bisping a tough test and establish whether he’s got what it takes to reach the top of the middleweight ladder. Marquardt’s set to fight Akiyama next month, and if he wins there this would seem to be a logical next step for both men.
I’d also be interested to see how Bisping matches up with Brian Stann, but Stann is currently slated to fight Jorge Santiago in May, so unfortunately the timing is a little off.
Realistically it would appear to be between Okami, Marquardt and Sonnen. The Sonnen fight is the most appealing and would generate the most hype, but all three make sense in terms of taking Bisping a step closer to title contention.