The UFC’s Most Wanted

UFC on Fox at the Nassau Coliseum provided the Long Island native, Chris Weidman with a much needed win and some much needed momentum.  That same momentum could be just enough to put him back in the title mix after suffering three consecutive losses dating back to his title loss against Luke Rockhold at UFC 194.  The victory wasn’t just the first for Weidman since 2015, it was exactly what was needed in order to put himself back in the driver’s seat.  The microphone after a fight contains a lot of power and boy did Weidman do his best to make his intentions crystal clear.

Weidman’s message was directed at the UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping or the “British bum,” as he referred to him as.  The call out might fall on deaf ears considering the fact that the “All American” is 1-3 in his last four outings, but it was quite telling.  It’s also important to note that Bisping called out the “All American” following his win over Dan Henderson at UFC 204.  The fight would no longer be entertained after Weidman lost to Romero at UFC 205 last November, but last night was a different story.  Weidman wasn’t just able to get back in the win column, he was able to regain his confidence, which has always been a critical part of his game.

While the skeptics are still present, arguing that Weidman defeated a bloated up welterweight in Kelvin Gastelum, it appears that the middleweight division is once again wide open due to a severe injury to the man who drastically cut down two of the top previous contenders.  The UFC interim middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker’s injured knee has been the cause of fighters like Weidman and Yoel Romero hoping and believing that Bisping is open for the taking.

Whether or not any of the aforementioned names are given a shot at the champ is yet to be seen, but with Luke Rockhold scheduled to fight and defeat the relatively unknown David Branch in September, the division is only going to get more interesting.  Then there is Georges St Pierre waiting in the wings and hoping for his shot against “The Count.”

Bisping is quite the marked man these days, more so at the tail end of his career than in his prime years.  He hasn’t been shy in handing out verbal jabs to his detractors, which is why it’s almost a given that we’ll be in store for a grudge match in his next octagon appearance.  So far he’s gotten into back-and-forth verbal spats with Romero, Weidman, Rockhold and even Anderson Silva in the last two years.  While it’s easy to criticize Bisping’s role as champion, it’s hard not to give him credit for stirring the pot and naturally inheriting the role of the black hat.

The Britain born fighter won’t be around for much longer and while injuries have extended his time outside of the octagon, the payoff of Bisping’s second title defense will surely be worth the wait.  The opponent does not really matter, and that’s what is going to make this another bright spot for MMA in 2017.

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