And that fight involves two Nigerian-born champions, UFC 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Usman and Adesanya have been ruling their respective divisions since 2019, with Usman racking up five title defenses and “The Last Stylebender” defending his belt three times.
Adesanya is scheduled to rematch the man he took the middleweight belt from, Robert Whittaker, at UFC 272 on February 12. Although the fight isn’t official, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is linked to a bout with top-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards, who he beat in 2015.
Bisping believes that if both champions retain their titles, the next obvious battle is with each other.
“Let’s assume Izzy goes out there and stops Robert Whittaker, what does he do next?” Bisping said via South China Morning Post. “There’s one fight that I think makes perfect sense. There’s another guy that’s lapping the competition: That is ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, Kamaru Usman.
“His next fight is going to be against Leon Edwards. [He] already beat him. Before that, Colby [Covington]. Already beat him. Before that, [Jorge] Masvidal. Already beat him. He’s been through all the contenders. He needs a fresh challenge.”
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Usman Has Turned Down Notion of Fight Adesanya, Bisping Doesn’t Agree
In the past, Usman has shot down the idea of fighting Adesanya because of their African roots, stating to ESPN that he’d “rather have two Africans with belts as opposed to one African with two belts.”
Well, that reasoning doesn’t work for Bisping.
“I don’t quite understand it,” he said. “I get it, you’re both Nigerian, but just fight. You need competition. You want to go down as one of the greatest of all time, that’s what you’ve got to do. When you look at Nigeria, it has a population of 209 million people. That’s a lot of people. When you say they’re both from Nigeria – so what?
“[There’s] 209 million people. One of the biggest fights of all time. There doesn’t need to be bad blood. It can literally just be in the essence of sport, finding out who the better fighter is. They hug, they shake [hands], but they both make tons of money. That’s what we’re trying to do here. That’s what fighting is all about. We’re trying to change our lives. We’re trying to dare to be great.
“You’ve got Americans fighting Americans all the time. You see Brazilians versus Brazilians.”
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Bisping Compared the Fight to His Match With Georges St-Pierre
In 2017, longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre returned from a four-year hiatus and received an instant-title fight against Bisping at middleweight. The fight was promoted like a superfight between two divisional champions, even though “GSP” had vacated his 170-pound belt years prior. St-Pierre defeated Bisping by third-round rear-naked choke at UFC 217.
“I’d like to see them fight one another,” he said. “That would be amazing. I think that would sell massively.”