When I first heard there was going to be a rematch between Michael Bisping (29-7) and Dan Henderson (32-14) for the middleweight title at UFC 204, I was extremely disappointed. Why would the organization give 46-year-old Hendo another title shot when he has gone 3-6 in his past nine fights? At the time, I also couldn’t believe Bisping was the new king of the 185-pound division, something that still boggles my mind. But I’ve since warmed up to the idea and honestly think this matchup should not be missed by any true MMA fan — or bettor. Why? Because Hendo and Bisping both represent everything right about the UFC, as two individuals who have done great things for the sport over their respective careers and earned the opportunity to fight again against each other. Think Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed alone in the gym at the end of Rocky III. That’s what makes this title bout very special. I will never forget Hendo’s epic performance versus Mauricio “Shogun” Rua nearly five years ago at UFC 139, earning a unanimous-decision victory after five grueling rounds in what would go down as the Fight of the Year. That performance got Hendo a title shot against light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 151, although it was later taken away when he had to withdraw due to a knee injury. This is the make-up bout for not only him but also Bisping, who has never really lived down the first-round knockout he suffered via the right hand of Hendo at UFC 100 in a middleweight title eliminator. As you may or may not remember, Hendo did not got the title shot at 185 after that because his contract expired with the UFC, so he fought Jake Shields for the Strikeforce middleweight championship instead and lost. He later returned for a third stint in the UFC by fighting Rua for the first time and then beat him again in Brazil two years ago. The rematch with Rua is another reason to watch the rematch with Bisping. Or Hendo’s last fight against Hector Lombard. You never know what’s going to happen when he steps into the Octagon. And in what will finally be the last bout of his legendary career, why not pay tribute to him and Bisping by watching — and betting on it?
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