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Report: Bisping and Henderson early favorites to land TUF 9 coaching slots

A new published report coming out of the UK is stating that Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson are the early-favorites to land coaching spots for the upcoming ninth installment of “The UItimate Fighter,” which will feature teams comprised of welterweights and middleweights representing both the U.S. and the UK in a head-to-head format.

The Sun, a British tabloid, is claiming that Bisping has not yet been offered the UK coaching slot because he is slated to fight Chris Leben in the main event of UFC 89 in Birmingham, England. But according to The Sun, “(UFC President) Dana White will immediately hand the British star a contract to appear on the show if he overcomes Leben next month.”

While The Sun does not have a stellar journalistic reputation, contacted a source earlier today inquiring about the validity of the report and we were told that Bisping has not been offered a spot on the show but is considered a logical candidate. In addition to being a UK citizen and a star in the country, he also has deep ties to TUF having won the show’s light heavyweight tournament during its third season.

The Sun adds that is believed that Henderson, the former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion, will coach the U.S. team and that the two coaches would face each other in a fight that would take place in December of 2009 to determine a number one contender for the middleweight title.

It should be noted that we were unable to verify whether Henderson is indeed under consideration for a TUF 9 coaching position. On some levels, he appears to be a logical choice in that he’s a top middleweight contender. He’d serve as a strong test for Bisping and a Henderson vs. Bisping matchup certainly has box office potential if marketed properly. Furthermore, he would add to the U.S. vs. UK theme having represented America in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling.

While he appears to be a strong candidate in many regards, he is not the perfect choice considering he’s already fought the promotion’s current middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, and lost to him at UFC 82 this past March. If Henderson were to beat Bisping and Silva were to remain the middleweight champion, it would remain to be seen just how much marketing potential Silva vs. Henderson II would have considering Silva won the first fight via submission in the second round.

It also remains to be seen whether the 38-year old Henderson would want to leave his family and his training center, Team Quest, for up to six weeks.

  • Davey D says:

    I like the idea of this. December 2009 seems a bit far off. I think TUF 9 will primere sometime between April and June next year setting up the coaches bout shortly afterwards. Does Anderson Silva get the nod if Bisping loses? This should be interesting.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    I wanna see Hendo fight one more time! It’ll be a year-long layoff if he doesn’t!

  • I’m down with this but the “Sun” has as solid a reputation as Lindsay Lohan.

  • Neil says:

    While Dan Henderson would be a solid choice for a coach, is Michael Bisping REALLY someone who should be given the job? Don’t get me wrong, his 16-1 (15-2 if you ask most people )record isn’t bad, but who has he beaten? Jason Day, Charles McCarthy, and Elvis Sinosic aren’t exactly big names.

  • David Andrest says:

    “I’m down with this but the “Sun” has as solid a reputation as Lindsay Lohan.”

    The Sun doesn’t like men?

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    Neil: But he’s a big name.

    Doesn’t matter who he has beaten. Look at Kimbo.

  • RUSH says:

    This always seems to blow up in the UFC’s face when they look past a fight. See Evans vs. Liddell as a perfect example.

  • screwface says:

    bsiping is a decent posterboy for uk fans but to compare him to hendo is just ludicrous. hendo is a victim of bad matchups so far in the ufc so if no1 knows who he is i can understand how ud be unimpressed; but the guy is a legend theres no shame in losing to rampage or anderson silva for that matter. but hendo is def a top tier fighter, way past gatekeeper status. im sorry bisping just isnt in the same league. i honestly think leben will knock him out. and im not knocking bisping, he is a decent fighter. but this has to be a serious insult to hendo when he found out. bisping needs to fight and win against at least 2 or 3 big names b4 he can even be considered for this type of achievement. i understand dana wants to do a uk vs usa season of tuf and needs a uk coach with big name apeal, and i dont know of a viable replacement as of yet, but bisping is the wrong choice. he needs to learn to walk b4 he can run, and feeding him lackluster opponents isnt helping him 1 bit. just my 2 cents 😛

  • xx2000xx says:

    “While The Sun does not have a stellar journalistic reputation”

    That’s being very kind but Bisping to coach the UK team is like adding 2 + 2, it’s not that hard.

  • Robert says:

    This is another example of the UFC trying to convince MMA fans a guy is better or more important than he really is Bisping has not beaten any top competition but they want him to be huge for their European market.Now he is in a main event fight against Chris Leben who is a tough guy but is a mid level fighter.They did the same thing with Frank Mir who gets to be a coach on TUF and gets a interim title shot because their telling you he’s a top tier heavyweight which he’s not.

  • razzle says:

    I don’t know about you, but I lost almost all respect for Bisping after the Matt Hamil fight.

  • Eric says:

    December 09? That better be an effin joke. If they want them as coaches, fine. But then they wouldn’t be fighting Anderson tip mid-2010. Absolutely ridiculous. I’m seriously angry about this.

  • KTru says:

    Way to long of a lay off. Something will pan out, it always does.

    Bisping is really the only fighter that could coach the U.K. Henderson is on another level when it comes to their fight. But it makes sense every way you look at it. Just need to get it moved up to Spring ’09.
    As for Bisping vs. Leben, you know it will not be a boring fight, and a loss for either of them does not destroy their careers too.
    Leben can only win this fight if its a KO. That being said, Bisping by split decision.

  • jaydog says:

    If I were entering TUF season 9 in hopes of top notch training, I would demand a full refund if I found out that Michael Bisping was my coach. No offense to him as a (mid-level at best) fighter, but his skills in the cage don’t indicate that he has that much to offer… well, aside from the “If I could do it, you can do it.” And maybe that’s just it. He got a UFC contract and that’s what the castmembers want. If that’s all there is to it, then this is a sorry excuse for a sport (and I don’t believe that for a second). By the way, Hendo as a coach, would be great.

  • Grappo says:

    Though I can see the financial benefit, it’s way too soon for Bisping to be a coach.

    “razzle – I don’t know about you, but I lost almost all respect for Bisping after the Matt Hamil fight.”

    I didn’t really lose respect for Bisping… he fought as hard as he could and lost, but won the decision. Unless you are talking about post-fight antics or statements that I don’t know about. I lost nearly all respect for the judges, but then again, that happens at nearly every sporting event where judges are often the deciding factor. Watching Women’s Olympic Gymnastics was a serious test of my patience. Nearly smashed my TV on a couple of occasions.

  • cornerman says:

    Hendo barely got passed Toquinho , he’s not an MMA guy he’s an old school ass kicker, but that train is slowly leaving the station, just ask Chuck Liddell.

  • muscleshark64 says:

    that has to be wrong- tuf should by the standard the ufc has operated with the last 3 years is the show will premiere in april, the fight will be in june or july (probably another uk card with bisping in the main event) and then they get the spider in october or november depending on his schedule and injuries

  • muscleshark64 says:

    i meant the ultimate fighter will probably stick to it standard the ufc has operated with the last 3 years

  • BoRocker says:

    I really hope Leben womps Bisping….

  • Batman says:

    Hendo is too old to wait a year to fight, he needs to fight as much as he can because he is at the end of his road. Michael Bisping vs Nathan Marquardt would be the better match up and could arguably be for the number one contender spot at that point in time. Who knows who will be champion in december 2009. Either way this match needs to take place so why not build their personalitys and fame at the same time.

  • Robert says:

    Just to let the guy know who said Hendo barely got past Toquinho as if that’s nothing. Bisping would not get past Toquinho.Palhares has more skills and is more of a future title contender than Bisping,but Bisping was a TUF winner and to most people now that means he’s an a fighter with top notch MMA skills.Henderson would tear Bisping up on the feet,in the clinch and on the ground.

  • Philb says:

    They can’t make the announcement until after the PPV, how stupid would they look saying something, and then Leben KO’s Bisping…………………….which IS going to happen

  • Neil says:

    Sergio: I don’t particularly care whether he’s a big name or not, my point is that he’s not an accomplished fighter. Kimbo isn’t (and may NEVER be), but he also isn’t being scouted to be a trainer for a seaosn of TUF either. My point is that even though Bisping deserves a spot on a PPV main card (because he’s got some wins and good recognition), they should put a someone a little more legit then him in the coach spot.

    Marquardt’s name got brought up, which would be a great idea. That guy is a great talent in the cage, and giving him a few months on TUF to get people in tune with him as an individual would not only net the UFC a talented fighter with good recognition with the casual fan, it would also give them someone that can be marketed in a fight with Anderson Silva (unlike Cote).

  • JollyDV says:

    I think Bisping as a coach would be a big mistake. I still have the pictures in my head from when he was on TUF a few seasons back crying because he felt Tito gave too much attention to Hammill. It seems like it was just yesterday. Come on, they surely have better choices for the coaches than that. Please let them have someone, anyone, but not Bisping.

  • Phil says:

    Bisping would be entertaining, I don’t know why everyone hates him so much he was jackass after the Matt Hamill fight but apart from that he seems a good guy. The nerves obviously got to Bisping in the Hamill fight, he obviously would’nt lose the standup in a rematch you could see the surprise in his face when Hamill was throwing punches he was prepared for Hamill to wrestle him not box him. I also think Bisping should have gotten the decision against Rashad.

    Hendo is obviously way more experienced and credible than Bisping but Hendo isn’t unbeatable he’s beaten some great fighters but lost to guys worse than Bisping as well. I think Hendo would win a decision against Bisping but I don’t think he’d dominate.

    The main plus side of Bisping as coach is that he’s entertaining, I’m not convinced someone like Marquart would be that much fun to watch. I don’t think bisping will have too much trouble with Leben I think he’ll take him down and smash his face in, Bispings ground and pund is excellent.

  • JBAR says:

    If Zuffa did buy the IFL I wouldn’t mind seeing Bas Rutten as the UK coach. I know he is not from the UK but he is well known there and has European roots. I also would not mind seeing a Bas/Hendo fight.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    Neil: I totally agree with you.

    But Bisping has name recognition so him getting the coaching slot of TUF is simply the nature of the beast. If it’s going to be “US vs. UK” the show simply needs a UK coach. Bisping isn’t just the best option, but the only option.

    On the other hand… as much as I like Hendo, the fact of the matter is is that he’s almost 40 years old and already somewhat popular even amongst the casual fan. Marquardt isn’t even 30 yet and still relatively unknown so if Zuffa really wants to put it’s TUF marketing muscle behind someone, I think the smart money is on Nate.

  • platypus says:

    i agree on nate, tho i believe hendo vs silva 2 would offer much more of a challenge than nate vs silva 2.

  • Daz says:

    What about a certain Ian Freeman?

    Granted he is a bit old but he knows his stuff……..
    Not exactly a middleweight though I agree.

  • gigi says:

    The Sun adds that is believed that Henderson, with the former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion, will coach the U.S. team and that the two coaches would face each other in a fight that would take place in December of 2009 to determine a number one contender for the middleweight title.


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