Michael Bisping has promised a homecoming that’ll be remembered when he defends his UFC middleweight championship in Manchester.
He will be facing Dan Henderson – a man who has scored a knockout victory on Bisping before, in 2009…
Things will be different this time around as Bisping, from Clitheroe, will have around 20,000 adoring Manchester fans cheering him on for the rematch, and he wants to send them home happy.
Bisping has been able to manage the extreme amount of adversity that has been thrown at him and now he makes his return, but he still has admitted that the last few years of his career have been an emotional and physical rollercoaster.
“All fighters want to be champion one day, but you have to be a realist and it got to a stage when I thought I’d never achieve that,” he said.
“I had lost a few key match ups and even though I was still hungry and it was a desire of mine, I’d come to peace with knowing it may not happen.
“I’ve managed to finally win the belt and now I’m in a fortunate position where I’ve earned a decent living and I’m taking care of my family.
“When I was younger I was doing every dead end job under the sun and probably worked in half of the factories around Manchester, so I’m a lucky man.”
“I’ll be making my first ever defence in Manchester so it’s what dreams are made of really,” he told MEN Sport.
“Henderson viciously knocked me out when we last fought and any fighter would want to get retribution and get a win back.
“I don’t underestimate anybody but I honestly believe that I’m too fast for him and too skilled. I’m getting better and better and now that I’m 37-years-old you would think it would be the opposite, but I’ve found my groove lately.
“He’s saying he will retire win or lose after this fight but it won’t be a fairy tale ending for him. He’ll be finishing his career on the back of a beating that he will have never experienced before.
“It was a terrible night at the office for me in 2009 so well done to him, but the guy that Henderson is facing on October 8 is not the same guy he fought back then.”
“It’s early hours of the morning and I know it is a bit disruptive, but we’ve done it before for Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe,” he said.
“The economics of the situation is that mixed martial arts is a US-driven sport, so a big title fight like this has to be on PPV.
“It’s something different so a part of me thinks that it’s going to be very cool. It’s a late one and there’s going to be some sore heads on Monday, but none sorer than mine after my fight!”