Champion Bisping ready to defend his title in style

Michael Bipsing
Michael Bipsing
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Britain’s first ever UFC champion Michael Bisping says that he’ll have to be wary of Dan Henderson’s knockout power as he makes the first defence of his middleweight title this weekend.

The 37-year-old, who avenged his loss to Luke Rockhold to sensationally take the crown at UFC 199, knows first hand about the devastating clout that the American possesses having fallen victim to it more than seven years ago.

I don’t even see this fight as a rematch to be honest because the two versions of ourselves are so completely different

Michael Bipsing

Henderson has only won half of his 14 appearances since then but six of those triumphs have come within the distance. The “Count”, though, is confident that he’ll get the job done and retain his unbeaten record in the United Kingdom.

“Dan Henderson has got to be respected 100%,” he said. “Dan is as tough as they come.

“He’ll come forward and he will swing because he’s got nothing to lose in this fight. He’s very dangerous.

“It’s a bit like my fight with Rockhold. I had nothing to lose in that.

“I’m assuming as soon as the fight starts he’s going to rush at me and hope that one of those shots connects. We all know he has the power.

“I’ve got to be patient and weather the storm at the start. I’ve got to be patient and pick him apart.

“I’ll get my rhythm and timing as the fight progresses and then take him out of there.

“I’m very very confident but I know he will never quit. He will never stop.”

Bisping, who hails from the Ribble Valley, is refusing to reflect on the past given their first meeting was so long ago.

In fact the Englishman doesn’t even consider their contest at UFC 204 to be a ‘rematch’.

“I don’t even see this fight as a rematch to be honest because the two versions of ourselves are so completely different,” he said.

“I’m much better and improved mentally and physically. Dan Henderson is kind of the opposite.

“He’s older and if you look at the muscle mass that he had in the first fight compared to now it’s like two different fighters.

“It’s almost unfair to call it a rematch. This is Michael Bisping 2016 versus Dan Henderson 2016. I’m faster, I’ve got a longer reach and I’ve got better footwork.

“All I care about is making weight, being in shape and beating Dan Henderson. I want to do it in style and I want to put on a performance that people aren’t going to forget for a long time.”