A trilogy matchup between two arch-rivals appears to be on the horizon. Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold told The MMA Hour on Monday that he’s in discussions with the UFC to do a trilogy match against his nemesis former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who recently said he was interested in the fight. No date or venue has been selected yet for the fight but it seems likely if the matchup is indeed booked that it will happen in the summer.
We all know the story between these two. Afraid trading barbs on television and on social media, the UFC booked the pair to fight at UFC Fight Night 55 in Sydney, Australia in November 2014. At the time, Rockhold was coming off of a submission win over Tim Boestch and still making his way up the middleweight ladder en route to his title shot against Chris Weidman. Bisping, meanwhile, was coming off of a TKO win over Cung Le. At the time, Rockhold was the up-and-coming superstar while Bisping was the gatekeeper. Not surprisingly, Rockhold dominated this fight, knocking Bisping down and then choking him out with a guillotine in the second round in one of the best performances of his career.
Rockhold then went on to beat Lyoto Machida via submission to earn a title shot against Weidman, and he won the belt when he finished Weidman via TKO at UFC 194 in December 2015, the same night Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo. Bisping, meanwhile, went on a nice run for himself after the first Rockhold fight, defeating CB Dollaway, Thales Leites and Anderson Silva via decisions to cement his place as one of the top-five middleweights in the UFC. After Weidman got hurt in training camp for his rematch against Rockhold at UFC 199, the UFC called on Bisping on two weeks’ notice to fight Rockhold. No one was giving Bisping a chance, and he entered the fight as a historically-big underdog, but in one of the most shocking upsets in UFC history, Bisping knocked Rockhold out in the first round to win the belt.
Since then, and that fight was almost two years ago now, both Rockhold and Bisping have been talking smack to each other via almost any medium imaginable. The trilogy has seemed inevitable for sometime. Bisping defended his belt once against Dan Henderson before losing it to Georges St-Pierre and then getting knocked out by Kelvin Gastelum. Rockhold, meanwhile, beat up David Branch but then got knocked out by Yoel Romero. Bisping says he’s likely going to retire after his next fight, as he’s 39 now and has taken a ton of damage in his career. Rockhold, meanwhile, says he’s done at 185lbs and wants to move to 205lbs. He said he wants to fight Bisping at light heavyweight, and considering Bisping’s age and the fact he started his career at 205, this request makes a lot of sense.
If I’m the UFC, I’m doing everything I can to book the trilogy fight between Rockhold and Bisping. It’s a great fight on paper between two former champions and it will decide who the better man is once and for all. I like Rockhold’s suggestion about it being at 205, so both men don’t have to cut weight. It’s a win-win for the UFC too. If Bisping wins, he defeats his arch-rival, goes down as one of the greatest fighters of all time, and joins a select few fighters who retired off of a win. If Rockhold wins, the UFC has a brand new title contender at 205. The fight makes so much sense, and it sells itself considering what happened in the first two fights. The trash talking in the lead-up is going to be epic, too. It just makes way too much sense, and at this point, any other matchup would be a disappointment.
Who wins the trilogy fight if it indeed happens: Luke Rockhold or Michael Bisping? Leave a comment below with how you think a trilogy matchup will play out.