After 25 Octagon appearances, Michael Bisping will finally get his long-awaited UFC title shot.
UFC President Dana White announced on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Wednesday that Bisping will replace the injured Chris Weidman and face reigning middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in the UFC 199 headliner on June 4.
Bisping wasn’t necessarily the first choice, but White revealed that top contender Ronaldo Souza needs meniscus surgery following his win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 198 and wouldn’t be able to fight again in approximately two weeks’ time.
“The next guy in line behind Vitor Belfort is Michael Bisping. There is no love lost between those two; they do not like each other,” White said. “So it’s the champ vs. the No. 4 ranked man in the world.”
Rockhold and Bisping first squared off at UFC Fight Night in Sydney on Nov. 7, 2014. Rockhold won in dominant fashion, as he dropped “The Count” with a head kick and finished the contest with a guillotine choke 57 seconds into the second round. Since then, Bisping has won three straight fights, taking decision wins over Anderson Silva, Thales Leites and C.B. Dollaway. The outspoken Brit is 18-7 since beginning his tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2006.
Weidman revealed earlier on Wednesday that he will require surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. He hopes to return by the time the UFC debuts at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12.
It’s always devastating when you’re getting ready for a guy for that long and two weeks before the event he has to pull out,” White said. “So obviously [Rockhold] was very bummed out, but he’s very excited to fight Michael Bisping….As soon as the fight fell out with Weidman yesterday those two started going back and forth on social media.”