Middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping won the title by knocking out former champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in June 2016. Bisping accepted the fight on short notice after Rockhold’s original opponent, Chris Weidman, was forced to withdraw due to injury. He won the belt and avenged a 2014 loss to Rockhold.
In his first title defense, the Englishman faced a 46-year-old Dan Henderson in the UFC 204 main event in October. Henderson famously knocked Bisping out at UFC 100 in 2009. Bisping defeated Henderson by unanimous decision to retain the title. Heading into the fight, Henderson was 3-6 in his previous nine outings and hadn’t put together back-to-back wins since 2011.
On March 1, it was announced that former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre would return to the Octagon for the first time since November 2013 to challenge Bisping for the 185-pound crown. The title fight will be St-Pierre’s middleweight debut.
“Sometimes they protect some fighters. That’s just reality,” No. 4 ranked Gegard Mousasi told MMAWeekly.com.
“The Dan Henderson fight – He got lucky a couple of times with the decision,” added Mousasi. “The Anderson Silva fight could have gone to Anderson. He fought Thales Leites in England. It could have gone to Thales Leites. Dan Henderson was a close fight. It could have gone to Dan, but he got the edge because he was fighting in the U.K. He’s a lucky guy, or they love him.”