After hanging a landslide unanimous decision victory on Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 120, Michael Bisping feels confident his convincing win over the Japanese stud puts him right back in the middleweight title hunt. “The Count” bumped his record to 20-3 in front of his countrymen on Saturday night and quickly announced who he’d like to be his 21st victim.
Things didn’t look good in the opening ticks, as Sexyama landed a right that clearly dazed Bisping. Instead of unleashing a barrage of strikes to try and collect an early paycheck, Akiyama was more methodical in his follow-up attack and allowed the 31-year-old to gather his wits about him.
“It definitely landed,” Bisping admitted of the punch. “It was a good shot. He caught me early on, and I did have to recover. It had me seeing double for a while.
“Akiyama’s a great fighter, I expected a tough challenge. I truly believe in my training and my skills and my ability to win this fight.”
Bisping has rattled off victories in three of his last four outings since being put to sleep by Dan Henderson at UFC 100 in July 2009. His only loss came in a controversial unanimous decision to Wanderlei Silva earlier this year. Silva abruptly pulled out of his UFC 116 scrap against Akiyama to have his knee surgically repaired in July. The former Pride champ isn’t expected back anytime soon.
“I’d like to fight Wanderlei again, definitely. I feel I’ve grown as a fighter,” Bisping stated. “I would even consider coaching ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ against him.”
If Bisping lands another TUF gig, it would mark his third appearance on the hit reality show. He won the light heavyweight tournament in Season 3 and returned a few years later to lead a pair of Englishmen to victory in the series’ ninth installment.
While Octagon brass might not be ready to turn Bisping into TUF’s poster boy just yet, pairing the two would make a ton of sense on multiple levels. The UFC’s mission to achieve global dominance has been well documented, and pitting a team of budding Brits against a squad of blazing Brazilians wouldn’t be the worst idea in continuing down that path.