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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Michael Bisping said on Tuesday that he'd like to return by UFC 152 in Toronto this September, and named two fighters in particular whom he'd be interested in facing. Brian Stann was the first, with Alan Belcher being the second - and receiving a more vitriolic call-out from Bisping.
However, while the more heated comments were sent towards Belcher, it's Stann who has responded first to Bisping's challenge. Stann was supposed to face off against Hector Lombard next month at UFC on Fox 4 before a shoulder injury sidelined him. He's healing up from the injury, and believes he'll be ready for the Sept. 22 date for the event, so he wants that fight.
"I think the fans have wanted that fight ever since I dropped down to 185," Stann said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. "It's bound to happen sooner or later – why not now?"
If Stann gets the nod, that keeps him in front of Belcher in the UFC's ranks, and though he expressed respect for Belcher's skills, he feels the fight with Bisping should be his right now.
"I've got a great deal of respect for Alan," Stann said. "But for me, I just think that the storyline would garner more attention between me and Bisping. I always want to fight guys that are ranked ahead of me, and right now, that's where Bisping is. He's very close to a title shot. I've done all the things necessary to improve my overall game."
"Now's my time. I'm not getting any younger. I want to fight for the title, and right now, to get to that title, Bisping is one of the guys you have to get through."
Penick's Analysis: Belcher also wants to fight for a title, and also understands Bisping's the type of guy you have to get through, so he'll surely want to have something to say about this potential matchup. The issue right now is that he's also sidelined with an injury, and Sept. 22 may be too early of a return for him. If it is, and if Stann and Bisping are both good to go in Toronto, Belcher will get passed up for this fight. Stann-Bisping is still a very good middleweight fight, and Stann definitely deserves to be in a fight on that level, but it's just dependent on what the UFC wants to do with all of them.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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