Michael Bisping will face Dan Henderson at UFC 208 this Saturday in Manchester, England. It’s a rematch that Bisping has wanted for more than seven years.
“Dan Henderson and myself, we have history,” the UFC middleweight champion said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We fought at UFC 100 seven years ago. If anybody follows the sport of UFC, they all know what happened. He knocked me out cold. Left me out there for several minutes on the canvas. It was one of the worst knockouts in UFC history. So here we are seven years later. I’ve always wanted a rematch with this guy. When I was unconscious, he dived on me and gave me a second blow, which was a little uncalled for, if you ask me. So I’ve always wanted revenge for that. I’ve always wanted to get that one back. All fighters want to do that.”
Bisping beat Luke Rockhold for the middleweight championship at UFC 199 in June.
“Luke Rockhold just had a face that needed knocking out,” Bisping said. “so I was the man for the job.”
Earlier that night, Henderson knocked out Hector Lombard in the second round.
“Dan Henderson knocked him out cold and proved that he’s still got that vicious knock-out power,” Bisping said. “So there’s this history there, the fans wanted it, there was a big public outcry to see this fight, so here we are. I better be careful. When you fight Dan Henderson, he’s got this big right hand, but I’ve got the skills. So make no mistake: I’m planning on knocking this guy out. As I said, I owe him one.”
Brandon Tierney wondered if Bisping doubts whether he can beat Henderson. After all, that July 2009 knockout was pretty brutal.
“That’s a valid question,” Bisping said. “But I think it speaks volumes about my fighting spirit, my mentality and my toughness. That fight was for the No. 1 contender, and I lost my fight. Then I worked myself back up to another No. 1 contender matchup and I lost that one. Then I won a few more fights and I got to a No. 1 contender matchup again and I lost that one. So it was a career full of ups and downs. Here we are. I’m finally the champion, and I never gave up. After that loss against Dan Henderson, everyone wrote me off. Everybody said, ‘He’s finished. He’s done. You can never recover from a knockout that bad.’ But I did and here we are. So to answer your question, of course I think I can win this fight. I know I’m the better fighter. Dan Henderson has incredible knockout power, but he’s a little slower. I made some mistakes in that first fight, and he did some good things. He had a good performance and I had a terrible performance. Well done. Good for you. But here we are, 2016, and the tables have turned and I get to go out there and hopefully set the record straight.”
Bisping also believes that Henderson had an unfair advantage during their 2009 encounter, as Henderson was on testosterone-replacement therapy.
“He had an unfair advantage,” Bisping said. “I’ve achieved everything I’ve achieved through blood, sweat and hard work. I believe he was manipulating the system. He was at an unfair advantage. Now it’s an even playing field and I get to get my revenge. So to answer your question, of course I believe I can win this fight and I’m going to win this fight. Round 3, I will knock this guy out, make no mistake.”