Michael Bisping came out of UFC Fight Night 48 victorious.
Bisping battered Cung Le in the main event with high-volume striking. The Brit got back in the win column and showed that the aging middleweight was out of his depth against the upper echelon of the division.
My God, looking at Le's face as he walked past press row. Just absolutely brutal.— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) August 23, 2014
The fight-ending flurry from Bisping showcased his skills. He is a fantastic technical boxer who makes his opponents wilt under the pressure. It has been a very effective style throughout his career.
Currently ranked No. 8 in the division, there are many doors open to Bisping, but he will only want premiere fights. As one of the biggest names in the organization, that is likely what he will get.
Here are three possibilities for Bisping's next outing:
Winner of Gegard Mousasi vs. Jacare Souza
Mousasi and Jacare will meet on September 5 in Connecticut. The No. 7-ranked and No. 4-ranked contenders in the division will battle it out, with the winner putting themselves right in line for a title shot.
That is a spot that Bisping would love to have.
Looking at the schedule is what leads me to believe this is a very real possibility.
Neither Souza nor Mousasi are likely to jump right into the cage against Weidman. The champion is tied up with a potential bout against Vitor Belfort. That means that they would have to fight at least one more time, and Bisping is coming off a win in the same time frame that they are.
It could very well be a title eliminator bout should the UFC go this route. It could headline another Fight Night card, or co-main event a pay-per-view. It is a solid option for the UFC.
Chris Weidman or Vitor Belfort
OK, let me explain to you why this is a valid option.
No fighter in UFC history has as many wins as Bisping without earning a UFC title shot. He has name value, and in the case that either fighter has to drop out of their proposed title tilt, Bisping could fill the hole seamlessly.
The UFC title fight is not until December. That is plenty of time for Bisping to heal up and get back into the gym. The UFC could pull him aside and tell him that he should be ready just in case one of the two has to fall out.
If Weidman were to get injured, Bisping could try to get revenge against Belfort now that the Brazilian has been forced off TRT by the Nevada commission. Should Belfort drop out, Bisping is a qualified fighter with name value to help sell the PPV.
It works on either level. Bisping should be ready to compete in December—just in case.
This seems to be the most logical fight to make. They are both inside the top 10 of the division, and both want to fight each other.
It makes for a good fight even though it is hard to envision either getting a title shot out of it with the likes of Mousasi, Jacare and Lyoto Machida battling it out for their chances as well. Regardless, if they want to fight each other that badly then let them tangle.
If it's Bisping-Rockhold, I sincerely hope it's a Fight Night headliner. Five rounds for two of MMA's best conditioned volume strikers? Yes.— Jordan Breen (@jordanbreen) August 23, 2014
It is certainly both a marketable fight and a competitive one. It makes sense from both a business and sport perspective.
Bisping vs. Rockhold would appear to be what everyone has on their minds. It would make a suitable Fight Night headliner late this year.