Michael Bisping won’t be fighting Luke Rockhold next after the UFC decided to go in a different direction, and so Thales Leites has seen an opportunity to stake his claim for a fight with ‘The Count’.
“Bisping is a tough fighter, does great fights. He fights for a long time, does exciting fights,” Leites told MMAfighting.com. “He’s well ranked, has a big name, and I think it’s would be great if we fight. It can be in Brazil or in England. I think it would be an interesting fight.
I don’t know who they are going to match me with. If it’s Bisping, great. If it’s not, the UFC will make a good decision. I will wait, get some rest, go back to training and wait for the call.”
A former UFC middleweight title contender, Leites spent several years away from the promotion after a lackluster spell for the promotion, but since returning in August of last year he’s looked rejuvenated and has so far strung together a four-fight winning streak inside the Octagon.
His most recent wins have always highlighted his evolution as a striker with a first round TKO against Trevor Smith followed up by a knockout of Francis Carmont last month, showing that he’s no longer just a BJJ specialist.
It remains to be seen if Bisping will be as eager to fight him though. The UK fighter posted yesterday that he’s ready for his next fight after taking just a week off following his dismantling of Cung Le via a fourth round TKO in Macau.
Despite having fallen at the last hurdle on a number of occasions, Bisping still has aspirations to fight for the 185lb title and that means that ideally he’ll be looking to take on someone that’s above him on the official rankings.
Currently Bisping sits at No.8 in the division, while Leites is No.12. Ideally he may now be hoping he can convince the UFC to give him the winner of this weekend’s Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza (No.4) Vs Gegard Mousasi (No.7) fight.
Most of the other fighters above him have fights booked at the moment, so if that doesn’t work out and he’s eager to get back in the cage sooner than later then a fight with Leites may start to look appealing.
The other possibility is that Bisping could fight the No.9 ranked CB Dollaway, and indeed ‘The doberman’ did also throw his hat into the ring just a few days ago.
“Looks like Luke & Machida is going down guess that leaves me and @bisping,” Dollaway wrote on Twitter. “Well Michael I would like to host in Phoenix! @danawhite @ufc”