Dan Henderson has admitted that he was surprised when his old rival Michael Bisping became a UFC champion.
Manchester fighter Bisping became the first ever British UFC title holder in June when he stopped Luke Rockhold on only 17 days’ notice, in the first round of their middleweight bout.
Bisping spoke after the fight about his preference to defend the belt in Manchester in a rematch with Henderson, who beat him seven years ago with a devastating knockout. This request has been granted.
However, his forthcoming challenger has admitted that he is shocked at the turn of events.
‘Hendo’ said that he thought Bisping was good enough to beat ‘certain people’ but thought that he would have trouble with fighters in Rockhold’s class.
The American said: “He’s always lost the key fights and had to build himself back up. Then he’d almost get a title shot, but lose again.
“He’s had that kind of career – he was almost there for a long time. I was like everybody else, I wasn’t sure that he’d ever make it.”
Dan Henderson, 46, has admitted he thought Bisping would fall short when stepping in for the injured Chris Weidman at short notice to challenge for Rockhold’s world title.
The American veteran, famed for the one-punch knockout power that flattened Bisping seven years ago, is still not willing to accept that the Brit has ironed out his flaws despite becoming world champion.
When asked if he was shocked by Bisping’s great achievement, Henderson added: “Yeah, absolutely. I thought Rockhold was a really bad fight for Bisping style-wise.
“Michael has never been known as a knockout guy. He can outpoint people and out-condition people, but I didn’t think he was going to outpoint Luke on their feet. Luke is always in good shape, also, so I didn’t think it was a good match-up.”