(Alas, Rampage Jackson’s cry of "Look the hell out!" came just a moment too late.)
Now that Michael Bisping is upright again and has finally watched the video that explains why he can no longer recognize patterns or do long division, he seems eager to get back in the Octagon and implement the lessons he learned from his brief time in the Underworld. Bisping has vowed to “kick someone’s backside” at UFC 105 in Manchester, England this November, but the question remains, who’s backside will be presented for potential kicking?
If you’d listened to Ben vs. Ben on Sirius Fight Club (channel 127 on Sirius or 104 on XM, Fridays at 6 pm EST), you would have heard us debating this very topic. We threw out a few names like Dan Miller or Alan Belcher, while others have mentioned Patrick Cote or Alessio Sakara.
When you think about it, it’s kind of a tricky question. With his next fight coming back home in England, and his last fight ending in a psychedelic dream state, the UFC is going to want to give him somebody beatable, but they can’t give him a total pushover without looking like they’re tossing softballs to their British fighters as long as they stay on their own island.
Bisping says he wants “a top fighter,” though that could mean a lot of things. Cote’s been out with a busted knee ever since October. Sakara hasn’t fought since his highlight-reel head kick KO of Joe Vedepo in September, and Dan Miller’s coming off the decision loss to Chael Sonnen at UFC 98. Basically, there aren’t a whole lot of “top fighters” in the UFC’s 185-pound class who aren’t spoken for.
If the UFC really wants to give Bisping a challenging, meaningful test in front of his hometown crowd, allow us to make one final suggestion: Yoshihiro Akiyama.
He’s coming off a narrow victory, has his Octagon debut out of the way, and beating him would actually mean something (no offense, “Legionarius.”) Conversely, if Akiyama wins he erases a lot of the doubt still lingering among the ‘Belcher was robbed’ camp. Either way it’s a great fight and it allows the UFC to give Bisping a real chance to prove himself, rather than just a chance to pump up his British fans with an easy win.