Ronaldo Souza, Dan Henderson, Chris Weidman and even Georges St. Pierre all want a piece of Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Michael Bipsing. Add former champion Anderson Silva to the list.
Silva lost a disputed unanimous decision to Bisping in their UFC Fight Night main event on Feb. 27 in London. Bisping went on to upset Luke Rockhold for the 185-pound crown at UFC 199 a little more than three months later, as he filled in for the injured Weidman on short notice. Silva took to Instagram to request a rematch with “The Count,” offering to meet him in Manchester, England, if he so desires.
“Well, I could give you a million reasons to make the fight against Bisping happen, but the truth is he’s afraid,” Silva wrote. “I’m not going to compare myself to others or even mention someone else, but from my perspective, I believe I have the right to fight him once again. I won the fight in London, and a rematch was promised. He said he was injured during our fight and wouldn’t be prepared to fight again too soon. Then he was ready to replace someone but not face me in Brazil, right?
“You know, I lived through an unexpected situation [with gallbladder surgery], but if it hadn’t happened, I could have fought in Brazil [in May],” he continued. “I think it’s time to show that I’m serious. I’ve never asked for a rematch with an opponent, but I do want the opportunity to fight Bisping again. I deserve that for everything I’ve achieved in the organization and the fact that I saved last-minute events, even in higher weight classes, fought injured and broke my leg.
“I have proven why I’m the best in the world in this sport, and I humbly say that none of my adversaries who supposedly beat me have achieved what I have with the organization,” Silva added. “Undoubtedly, I believe this rematch is the best step for the UFC and [UFC President] Dana [White] is aware of it because of what the numbers tell him. If it helped [Bisping] feel more confident and less afraid, I’d agree to fight him in his hometown of Manchester.”
Not everyone agrees with Silva’s assessment. Vitor Belfort believes “Jacare” Souza has put himself at the front of the line for a crack at the belt. Belfort succumbed to first-round punches from Souza in the UFC 198 co-main event in May.
“I don’t see anyone who deserves it more than him,” Belfort said during an appearance on “Revista Combate,” a television program in Brazil. “To tell you the truth, I thought Rockhold would beat Bisping, Jacare would face Luke for the title and I would do a rematch with Bisping. Once Rockhold lost, it was Jacare who deserved the title shot.”
Belfort scoffed at the idea of Henderson leapfrogging Souza, Weidman and other top contenders at 185 pounds. Henderson turned back time at UFC 199, where he flattened Hector Lombard with a backward elbow strike in a clear contender for “Knockout of the Year.”
“If they wanted to make it a revenge fight [for Bisping], I would be in front of ‘Hendo.’ We’re in 2016, and it’s time to concern ourselves a little bit more with who deserves it,” Belfort said. “Henderson defeated someone who came from a lower weight class, and he’s lost six of his last nine fights. I’m still No. 4 in the rankings. I also knocked out Bisping and I’ve also done a lot in this sport over the last 20 years, so if we’re cutting in line, I should be in front of Henderson. I just don’t think it would be fair. This is Jacare’s fight. He deserves the title shot for everything he’s done lately.”