UFC 204 Preview

024574_198_Keyart_27x39The reign of The Count officially begins at UFC 204 and it has been a long road to this point for a UFC veteran.

Michael Bisping began his UFC career as one of the most outspoken contestants on The Ultimate Fighter.

He showed that he could back up his talk winning the show and beginning what would be one of the longest careers in the promotion, now approaching a decade with the UFC.

That is not an easy thing as the UFC is notorious for letting fighters go to allow the new generation take over.

It is clearly a survival of the fittest situation yet Bisping has remained on the roster partly because of his ability to win fights and partly because of his ability to sell fights.

He has never lost two fights in a row and despite some iffy stretches where he couldn’t seem to get into the groove in winning and losing fights back to back.

He began to make a reputation for himself as the best fighter in the division when not much was on the line.

Every time he got a chance at a big fight that could put him into a title fight he would take a loss and move back to the rest of the division where he would once again dominate.

It wasn’t until an injury to Chris Weidman that Bisping was given the shot he had been looking for in his almost 10 years as a UFC fighter.

It was entirely by chance and was a chance that Bisping had to take despite being a massive underdog coming off of no camp on a week’s notice.

That underdog status was something that got into the head of Luke Rockhold who never took Bisping seriously and paid for it with a knockout loss and the loss of his title.

It is that fact that makes Bisping’s championship an interesting one though as many still believe that giving both a full camp and Rockhold taking Bisping seriously would lead to different results.

A focused Rockhold likely would beat Bisping as the Brit is a great fighter but he is not at the level of the top tier in the division.

He may very well prove everyone wrong on that if he gets a rematch with Rockhold but for now, he looks to settle his own score at UFC 204.

That score to settle is the brutal knockout suffered at the hands of Dan Henderson at UFC 100 and even more so the unnecessary follow-up forearm to the face of Bisping when he was on the ground out cold.

Ever since then Bisping has wanted to face Henderson again but Henderson never wanted to give him the rematch.

That was until Bisping got the belt and Henderson decided to stave off retirement for one more fight to earn the only belt he has not been able to win.mma-sidebar.fw

Henderson heads into the fight as one of the most experienced MMA fighters with a total of 49 fights, also his age, and yet despite the multiple championships he has earned and the multiple title shots he has been a part of he has yet to win a UFC title.

He hopes to do just that and then leave the sport achieving everything that a fighter can on his way to being one of the legends of the sport.

Of course, Bisping is sure to try to spoil the party and defend his belt for the first time in front of a home crowd.

That is the other big part of this fight as Bisping has never lost in Great Britain and he doesn’t want to start now.

The fight itself is one that has many scratching their heads trying to figure out who might win.

On the one hand, Henderson is almost 50 years old and he is not the fighter he used to be with a little less athleticism than before.

Then again, Henderson still has massive power in his hands and he continues to put people to sleep.

The champion has his own debate going on as many see him as a good fighter but not a long-time champion.

He doesn’t necessarily have the power that consistently ends fights as his power doesn’t strike fear into most of his opponents.

Yet his technical boxing is some of the best in the division as he has the technique that can end a night quickly if his opponent isn’t careful.

That was something that Rockhold figured out quickly in his first title defence and something that Henderson might figure out if he thinks it’s going to be an easy win.

It is a hard fight to predict for many as both fighters are not the dominant type but both can win and both can lose in what should be an interesting fight for the middleweight title.

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