rock the boat

Rockhold hits out at Bisping and 'the worst title reign in UFC history'

The former middleweight champion has an axe to grind with the man who relieved him of the belt.

LUKE ROCKHOLD HAS slammed Michael Bisping’s reign as a UFC champion as the worst in the 24-year history of the organisation.

Following his win against David Branch in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Rockhold vented his frustrations during an appearance on UFC Tonight on FOX Sports 1 last night.

UFC 2017: Fight Night Pittsburgh Rockhold vs Branch Luke Rockhold squared off with David Branch on Saturday night. Scott Taetsch Scott Taetsch

“I think it’s the worst in UFC history,” Rockhold said of Bisping’s 15-month reign as the top dog in the 185lbs division. “No one has ever gotten that treatment, no one has avoided all the top contenders.”

Bisping won the belt in June of last year when he stepped in on short notice and shocked Rockhold with a first-round KO at UFC 199. It was sweet revenge for the Englishman, who was beaten via submission by the American 18 months earlier.

There was no shortage of worthy challengers in the division when Bisping reached the summit. Former champions Rockhold and Chris Weidman were both waiting for an opportunity to regain the belt, while Yoel Romero, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Robert Whittaker were also in contention.

However, Bisping ended up facing a 46-year-old Dan Henderson last October in his inaugural title defence. He avenged a 2009 defeat to Henderson with a unanimous-decision win.

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Next on Bisping’s agenda is a clash with former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who returns from a four-year hiatus to face the Manchester native in the main event at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden on 4 November.

Rockhold said: “He [Bisping] was supposed to fight Jacare — he avoided that. He was supposed to fight Yoel — he avoided that. And somehow he’s getting away from this fight with Whittaker. He found Dan Henderson, the number 14th ranked at the time, and now he’s going for GSP. He hasn’t done anything.”

Bisping and GSP have been matched in spite of the fact that Robert Whittaker put himself in pole position for a shot at the current champion when he won an interim title at Yoel Romero’s expense in July.

“Robert Whittaker, that would be the real champion, that’s the man who is fighting all the guys,” Rockhold said. “We’ll see what his timetable is, of course. Obviously a third option is Yoel Romero.”

UFC Work Outs - Manchester Arena UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. Martin Rickett Martin Rickett

Bisping hinted earlier this week that he’ll retire after he takes on GSP. The fight will be his 28th in the UFC, a new record, which takes him ahead of Frank Mir and Tito Ortiz.

“I’m going to put myself in position,” said Rockhold, who’s clearly keen on a trilogy bout against the champion. “He’s going to have a choice: either he stands and fights like a man, or he runs. And we all know what he’s doing. He’s ran from the start and it looks like he’s going to run to the finish.”

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