UFC 199: Michael Bisping wants Britain's first title in Luke Rockhold fight

Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva
Michael Bisping's victory over Anderson Silva at the O2 Arena in London in February was sold out

Michael Bisping has said becoming Britain's first UFC champion would mean "everything" to him.

The 37-year-old from Lancashire has been a mixed martial arts fighter for 12 years, but gets his first title shot when he faces middleweight champion Luke Rockhold of America on Saturday.

"A world title has eluded the UK so far," he told BBC Three.

"The sport's grown in the UK and is still growing. A UK champion would help push the sport to the next level."

Watch on BBC Three: Bisping, Dana White and an entertaining press conference

Bisping is reportedly one of the UFC's best-paid competitors with more than $6m (£4.1m) in career earnings, but does not have the same notoriety in Britain as he does in the US.

He was a late replacement to face Rockhold in the main event at UFC 199 in Las Vegas, after Chris Weidman pulled out with a herniated disc.

"I want to be world champion for personal reasons," he said. "But I want to represent the UK and England. I'm proud to represent Britain on a world stage."

Bisping has won 29 of his 36 career fights, but had always fallen short of earning a title shot.

His last opportunity to become number one contender came against Rockhold, when he was forced into a submission by the American in the second round of a bout in November 2014.

But the former plasterer has gone on to win three successive fights - including February's unanimous decision win over former champion Anderson Silva in London.

"My confidence is high. Now I get to fight Rockhold, I get to get revenge and redemption and set the record straight," he said. "And I get to be world champion all at the same time. I've got a lot to play for.

"I've fought in hostile territory before and - I may regret saying this - but I think there will be a few people on my side. The support I'm feeling for this fight is tremendous."

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