The UFC middleweight title will be on the line at UFC 204 in England the birthplace of the current champion Micheal Bisping, coincidentally it’s just over 9 years since Dan Henderson in his UFC debut battled Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in a unification bout for both the UFC & Pride light heavyweight titles in the very same country, how things have come full circle.
Dan Henderson came up short that night losing by decision and six months later he challenged Anderson Silva and came up short again in another UFC & Pride unification bout this time for the middleweight titles losing by submission. At UFC 100 the two men due to compete in the UFC 204 main event fought each other in a middleweight title eliminator, Dan Henderson coming out on top with one of the most memorable knockouts in UFC history. However Henderson left the UFC promotion for rivals Strikeforce following that fight so never received the title shot and upon his return to the UFC instead chose to campaign in the 205lb weight division. Now five years after his return to the UFC Henderson by public demand has found himself in the position that he had rightfully earned at UFC 100, he will get one last crack at adding a UFC championship to his already stacked trophy cabinet.
Michael Bisping stepped in to face Luke Rockhold on 17 days notice replacing the injured Chris Weidman and managed a huge upset taking the title from Rockhold in emphatic fashion. Bisping’s career has been filled with ups and downs losing a few middleweight title eliminators and then going on a run of wins followed by losses before stringing three wins together and getting the short notice call up opportunity which he took with both hands. Defending the belt on home territory will be a dream come true for Bisping considering how unreal the last 6 months has been couple that with the fact that he gets a chance to exact revenge on the man that delivered a haunting ko on him back in 2009, for Bisping this night could a memorable one.
The only shame about this fight is only one of these men will get the fairy tale ending, Dan Henderson has announced this will be his last fight win or lose and how fitting it would be to win the title that has eluded him for so long in his final appearance inside the octagon. On the other side of the coin we would assume this may be Bisping’s last chance to fight in his native country, he will be eager to lift the roof of M.E.N arena with a victory creating a historic moment for sport in Britain.
Manny Sangha @thefightscholar