UFC middleweight Michael Bisping had to experience that first hand just a couple of weeks ago when he suffered a knee injury in training and was forced to pull out of his scheduled fight with Tim Boetsch at UFC 149.
Now more than a week after having the necessary knee surgery, Bisping is in as good of spirits as he can maintain after pulling out of a fight, the first time he’s done so in his six year UFC career.
“It was tough, it was really tough. I like to fight frequently and I don’t like to pull out of fights. It was hard,” Bisping told MMAWeekly.com about the decision.
When the injury first occurred, Bisping says he was contemplating having surgery and then still trying to fight, but now that he’s back from under the knife, he knows there was no way that was going to happen.
“It’s getting better. The swelling’s starting to go down, I’m walking but only with a severe limp, but I can’t bend the knee yet properly so I don’t know when it is yet that I’ll be back in the gym. I’m icing the hell out of it everyday, and hopefully within another week I can do some things,” said Bisping.
When he returns to action later this year, the middleweight division he left could look somewhat different. On July 7, Chael Sonnen will look to become the first fighter in the UFC to defeat Anderson Silva and then four days later Mark Munoz will face Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 4.
A couple of weeks after that, former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard will make his UFC debut against the man who was supposed to face Bisping at UFC 149, Tim Boetsch.
When the dust settles, Michael Bisping knows one thing for sure – he’s still a top middleweight and if Chael Sonnen wins at UFC 148, there should be no question who the first man to face him should be.
All Bisping has to do is look in the mirror to find the answer.
“I definitely think so. The fight was super, super close and a lot of people felt I won that fight, even the UFC, Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) thought I won the fight. Chael Sonnen even thought I won the fight. In the Octagon he said he thought I won the first two rounds. So, everyone else seems to get a rematch these days instantly, why can’t I get one?” Bisping asked.
“I was fighting the No. 1 contender, but the judges awarded it to Chael. He won the fight, just because I lost doesn’t mean I go to the back of the pile, it should mean I’m next in line. I just gave him the hardest fight he ever had and I’ll give it to him again without a problem.”
Bisping also thinks the middleweight contenders list is thinner than most believe when looking at the divisional rankings. He’s been near the top a number of times, but still awaits that elusive first title shot.
“You look at the contenders, who is there? Vitor Belfort just recently got beat, plus now he’s injured. Yushin Okami’s just been beat. There isn’t too many challengers, I’m right there. Mark Munoz has a fight lined up with Chris Weidman, so if Chael wins, he needs a challenger, I’m right here,” Bisping stated.
Whether Bisping will actually get that shot remains to be seen, and since he’s no clairvoyant he’s not going to stare into a crystal ball and hope to see his future fight with Chael Sonnen.
No, instead the British born Ultimate Fighter winner will rehab his knee and then look to get back into the middleweight title hunt by fighting instead of talking.
“When I spoke to Joe Silva and initially told him about it, he was very understanding and he said ‘listen give me a call after surgery and let me know how you’re leg’s getting on and how it’s feeling, and when you’ll be able to fight, we’ll find you a fight’. He said ‘we’re not going to make you wait on the sidelines for a while, we’ll get you a fight ASAP’,” Bisping revealed.
“In an ideal world I’d love to fight on the Jon Jones and Dan Henderson card. That’s about 11, 12 weeks, so maybe in a few weeks I can start training so that could be a possibility, but it’s down to the UFC of course.”
Bisping will also be watching UFC 148 with bated breath with the thought still lingering that if Chael Sonnen wins, his next fight could be for the middleweight title.