Michael Bisping has been a light heavyweight contender since he first started participating in mixed martial arts. Althought he has kept a pretty clean record with 14 consecutive win in this weight class, many have told him that his performance and size better suit him at 185 lbs. It took him a while to move down in weight class, but it wasn’t until his last defeat versus Rashad Evans at UFC 78 that pretty much fully convinced him. Michael Bisping talked about Evans by stating:
"I felt I performed very well against one of the best wrestlers in the UFC in Rashad. I regret not pushing it a little harder in the last round but, overall, I can’t complain about a controversial loss because I was coming off a controversial win. My performance again made me go back and forth about going to middleweight but, in the end, this is my career and how I make a living, and although it isn’t that I can’t hack it at 205 pounds, it doesn’t make sense to give every opponent an advantage when I don’t have to"
Although Evans didn’t make him look horrible as a light heavyweight division, he explains that many of his close sparring partners like current UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson, UFC president Dana White, his friends and his fans have been wanting him to move down for a very long time.
Here’s a snip from Michael Bisping himself:
“Even though I’ve never fought at middleweight, I’ve gone back and forth with the decision to go down pretty much my whole career…Even from my very first pro fight (April 2004), people were telling me that I was a little too small for the light heavies. But I kept winning and, at least before I stepped up to the UFC, I was winning easily so I didn’t really take much notice I’ve not trained in a month and right now I weigh 211 pounds. Actually, even as far back as the TUF 3 try-outs in London (in December 2005), Dana White looked at me and asked me if I was sure I wanted to try-out for the light heavies rather than the middleweights. Then I was asked the same question again when I was invited to Las Vegas to do the interview to get on the show. I’ve been asked about middleweight loads of times, by not just writers, but also other fighters, so I started thinking about it more seriously this year…Dana thought it was a great idea, he said I’d be ‘a monster’ down at middleweight. In fact all sorts of people like Rampage (with whom Bisping is close) were telling me this was the best thing for my career. Really, I knew middleweight was the place to be. When I went to train with Rampage in America over the summer, when we’d go eat he’d have half a lettuce leaf; I’d have a pizza or a couple of foot-long Subways and a couple of sneaky cookies…At middleweight, I will be just as strong if not stronger than my opponent and, without carrying this extra 20 pounds, I will be fitter than I am at light heavyweight. I just think the time is right to move down…At this level in the UFC, every little edge you can give yourself is so important and here I was starting fights at a physical disadvantage, strength and size wise. Even if it gives me an extra 3%, that can make all the difference in certain fights. There are some great matches for me at middleweight and I am looking forward to maybe being the bigger man in the Octagon for a change."
The UFC middleweight division has had a complete drought in competition as Anderson Silva has dominated this weight class for a little over a year now. When we all thought that there was nobody in the UFC that would be able to stop him, Dan Henderson (current PrideFC middleweigh champion) and Michael Bisping have decided to join the race. Will they be able to stop the current champ, a.k.a. unbeatable Spider? We’ll just have to sit down and wait for that time to come.
Lastly, Bisping went on to say, "I know 185 pounds is the weight I should be at, and I am actually looking forward to the extra challenge of making weight, but I want to apologise right now because I now I am going to be one moody SOB come fight week!”