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Morning Report: Michael Bisping says retirement fight vs. Luke Rockhold would ‘stoke the fires’

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After Michael Bisping lost his UFC middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre last year, and then subsequently lost to Kelvin Gastelum just a few weeks later as a short-notice replacement fight at UFC China, the former Ultimate Fighter winner made it clear that his time as a professional fighter was rapidly coming to a close. Bisping said he wanted one more fight to end his career on but as possible bouts with Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida have fallen through, the question became, ”what fight could interest Bisping enough to return one more time instead of heeding the wishes of his family and walking away from MMA?”

Well now we may have an answer.

Speaking recently on his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping said that a trilogy fight with the man Bisping took the title from, Luke Rockhold, would certainly interest him as a swan song.

“If that motherf**ker wants to throw down at 205 [pounds], yeah, we can entertain that, buddy,” Bisping said. “I’ve got no problem knocking you out again.”

Rockhold was recently knocked out by Yoel Romero in their interim title fight at UFC 221. In the aftermath, the former champion has said he intends to move up to the light heavyweight division, unless he is offered a third bout with Bisping, a fight Rockhold has been chasing since losing the belt to Bisping at UFC 199. Rockhold won their first fight in dominant fashion but that was in 2014, and Bisping says Rockhold is a changed fighter since then because he broke Rockhold permanently.

“I exposed Luke Rockhold,” said Bisping. “I knocked him out. David Branch nearly knocked him out. Yoel knocked him out. I quite literally took his soul, so if he wants me to do it again, that is one that would stoke the fires so to speak.”

On paper, the trilogy match is a promotional dream. Bisping and Rockhold are two of the few marquee fighters who have a genuine and palpable dislike of each other and the UFC has always loved to promote a grudge match. Plus, with Bisping unwilling to fight any “any young guy looking to make a name off me” for his final bout, there aren’t may better options for Bisping to walk into the sunset off of.

If he does retire off of this fight, that is. Bisping conclude this discussion by suggesting that he could walk away from the game right now and be financially secure, or he could even stick around for one more fight after a potential Rockhold clash if the UFC made it worth his while.

“I’ll fight him at 205, I’ll fight him at 185,” concluded Bisping. “I’m not bothered. That’s if I’m gonna fight again, if the deal is right. Fortunately now, I’m in a good place.”

“I still love fighting. Fighting’s what I do, that’s provided me this platform and I still feel like I’ve got at least one more in me. I’ve got more than that in me but I’m just saying from my business perspective maybe one more makes sense, maybe two more, maybe no more. We’ll see what the future holds if the deal is right.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Illegal. Josh Emmett wishes referee Dan Miragliotta had ‘done his job’ after illegal knee at UFC Orlando.

The Answer. Frankie Edgar responds to Conor McGregor’s claims of UFC 222 fight offer.

Plans. Artem Lobov says Conor McGregor had ‘plans in place’ to prepare for Frankie Edgar at UFC 222.

Farewell. Mike Pyle retiring from MMA after UFC 222 fight: ‘The juice is no longer worth the squeeze.’

209. Agent’s lawsuit against Nate Diaz dismissed in Texas.


VIDEO STEW

Embedded.

UFC 222 Countdown.

Of course he would.

Bellator it is then.

Breaking News: Frankie Edgar willing to accept a big bag of money if offered to him.

DC better watch out.

Usman on Covington.


LISTEN UP

The MMA Hour. Interviews with Edgar, Lewis, Lobov, Emmett, and more.

The Co-Main Event. Discussing UFC Orlando and illegal knees in MMA.

Anik and Florian. Looking back at UFC Orlando and ahead to UFC 222.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Needle mover.

Thass right….

A post shared by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on Feb 26, 2018 at 6:42pm PST

Welcome back.

Plenty of respect to Ledet for having the stones to join up publicly.

It’s a date.

Make it happen.

When a fight with Bisping didn’t materialize, this is Brunson’s next move.

Cain already getting that WWE heat.

Nice response.

Just Horsing Around

A post shared by Danielle Nickerson (@platinumprincessofficial) on Feb 26, 2018 at 3:04pm PST

Thanks.

Making a change.

Inspirational.

Prospect killer.

Update.

Six months sprawl training and he’s a contender.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jack Marshman (22-7) vs. Bradley Scott (11-5) UFC London, March 17.

Emmanuel Sanchez (16-3) vs. Sam Sicilia (16-8); Bellator 198, April 28.

Alexa Grasso (10-1) vs. Tatiana Suarez (5-0); UFC Santiago, May 19.

Vicente Luque (12-6-1) vs. Chad Laprise (13-2); UFC Santiago, May 19.

Guido Cannetti (7-3) vs. Diego Rivas (7-1); UFC Santiago, May 19.

Andrea Lee (8-2) vs. Veronica Macedo (5-1-1); UFC Santiago, May 19.

Syuri Kondo (6-0) vs. Poliana Botelho (6-1); UFC Santiago, May 19.

Rafael Carvalho (15-1) vs. Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2); Bellator 200, May 25.

Michael Page (12-0) vs. David Rickels (19-4, 2 NC); Bellator 200, May 25.

Walt Harris (10-7) vs. Daniel Spitz (6-1); UFC Utica, June 1.

Hector Sandoval (14-4) vs. Jarred Brooks (13-1); UFC Utica, June 1.

Joseph Benavidez (25-4) vs. Sergio Pettis (16-3); UFC 225, June 9.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2011: B.J. Penn went to a majority draw with Jon Fitch in the main event of UFC 127. This was the last time Penn fought in the octagon and didn’t lose.

2015: At Bellator 134, Liam McGeary won a unanimous decision over Emanuel Newton to become the Bellator light heavyweight champion.

At Invicta FC 11, Cris Cyborg defended her women’s featherweight title, knocking out Charmaine Tweet in 46 seconds.

2016: Michael Bisping won a unanimous decision over Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 84.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.



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