Michael Bisping has yet to face a No. 1 contender since winning the UFC middleweight championship 15 months ago, and that’s why some people see interim titleholder Robert Whittaker as the true champion.
Derek Brunson, who came closer to beat Whittaker in the Octagon than any other middleweight when they fought in Melbourne last November, is not completely against that idea.
“Why not?” Brunson told MMA Fighting. “I have nothing against Bisping and I have nothing against how he does his business. It is kind of ridiculous, he’s holding up the division. I know he’s waiting for big fights, he’s about be done with his career, so I kind of give it to him in this aspect. At the same time, we’re trying to get this division going, the champ being active and everybody moving up.”
Bisping won the title with a first-round upset against Luke Rockhold on short notice, and defended it in a rematch with Dan Henderson last October. There’s a possibility “The Count” retires after his upcoming clash with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 on Nov. 4, and Brunson believes he would come out on top.
“Man, that’s such a tough one,” he said of who wins at Madison Square Garden. “I might go with Bisping. I might go with Bisping in a point-fighting situation. But I can see GSP holding him down, ground and pound. But I might take Bisping.”
Brunson went 1-1 since losing to Whittaker last November, dropping a close decision against former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and coming back with a first-round knockout over Daniel Kelly. He’s currently scheduled to take on Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo in Brazil on Oct. 28.