In a landmark event which sees UFC taking its brand to mainland China in Shanghai, Bisping replaced Anderson Silva who failed a drug test in just two weeks time.
Michael Bisping steps inside octagon just three weeks after he relinquished middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre (GSP)on November 4. After the third round submission defeat at UFC 217 in New York, most expected him to retire. Englishman's own comments leading up to the fight was most people would expect him to retire if defeated.
Michael Bisping, source: MMA News
A career spanning 17 year's and tied for most victories in UFC history, he has been promoted to legendary status in UFC. The 38-year-old veteran's return on Saturday as a late replacement for Anderson Silva as the main event in UFC Shanghai has raised few eyebrows calling him part stubborn and part crazy.
His opponent Kelvin Gastelum, a tough contender himself is just 21 days removed from his last fight and will be in tremendous shape. Bisping is no slouch either, already in shape from GSP fight and hunger to get back into winning mentality, to finally draw the final curtain in his illustrious career in UFC's return to London in March 2018.
Kelvin Gastelum, source: UFC
In an interview with MMAFighting.com, Bisping said "I know if I had that fight 10 times, I'd win that fight 10 times. I know I would, but I lost to Georges and here we are with this gift from the Gods. I get a chance to exorcise my demons. I get a chance to get back in the win column -- all good things."
However, even with his bulletproof confidence, he is placed as an underdog with odds 3-1 against him for the fight. But Bisping won the middleweight title in 2016 late in his career in a similar way when he accepted the bout on 17 days notice against Luke Rockhold.
As soon as he heard about Silva's withdrawal from the fight, he sent a text to UFC president Dana White from his car. He said "Listen, I know a guy that fought last week who has no injuries that can fight in Shanghai. He texts back, 'interesting,' and I text back, 'very.' Twenty minutes later, I get a phone call. We agreed, we said we'd do it."
Initially given a 30-day medical suspension from New York State Athletic Commission for injuries he sustained at UFC 217, Bisping went through various medical procedures to prove his fitness and conditioning for the upcoming event and even called the process "pain in the ass."
Despite the odds stacked against him, Bisping has an edge over Gastelum in experience and size, with both a four-inch height and reach. Gastelum advantage is his speed and quickness, weighing in at 185 pounds the welterweight's speed and adaptiveness will play a key role in how the bout turns out.