Clitheroe’s controversial UFC star Michael Bisping is just 23 days away from the grudge match that could propel ‘The Count’ in to title contention once more.
Middleweight eliminator defeats to Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, coupled with defeat to Vitor Belfort in January 2013, have spurned the 35-year-old’s hopes in the past but victory over Luke Rockhold next month could push him closer to UFC gold, currently being guarded by Chris Weidman.
Rockhold, who lost to Brazilian Belfort just four months after Bisping’s defeat to the ‘Phenom’, returns to the Octagon on the back of wins over Costas Philippou and Tim Boetsch, both with first round stoppages.
Despite the resounding triumph over Cung Le in Macau, China, in August, with his opponent’s face smashed to smithereens with a heavily blackened right eye, a severely cut left eye and a bloodied mouth, Bisping’s odds of beating the one-time Strikeforce fighter are as long as 5/2 with bookmakers Paddy Power, while Rockhold’s are as short as 1/3.
The venomous hatred between the pair extended to Twitter before the headline bout in Sydney, Australia, on November 8th was announced.
Rockhold instigated the social media war by stating “@Bisping Wake up and get to work. You need to win a fight so the @UFC will let me beat you” before suggesting that Bisping’s “time is up”.
Things got heated during the face-off last month as the pair publicised their match-up at UFC Fight Night 55.
Bisping, who has had mixed success in Sydney in the past with a loss to Wanderlei Silva in 2010 and victory over Jorge Rivera 12 months later, challenged Rockhold with: “Take one step closer and I’ll knock you out.
“You’re pathetic. Who’ve you knocked out? Nobody.
“Give me a name! You haven’t got anybody. All that matters is that I’m going to beat you on November 8th. Get ready pal.”