Michael Bisping thinks Marvin Vettori is the best middleweight in the UFC – after champion Israel Adesanya.

Vettori (17-4-1 MMA, 7-3-1 UFC) was edged out by Adesanya (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) in their first matchup in 2018, but their title-fight rematch at UFC 263 in June was pretty lopsided in favor of “The Stylebender.”

But Vettori proved he’s not out of the title race just yet when he rebounded by defeating former title challenger Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC Fight Night 196 in October.

“If it wasn’t for Israel Adesanya right now, he’d be the champ, definitely,” Bisping said in a recent Q&A on his YouTube channel. “He’s the next best guy at 185, in my opinion. He’s doing tremendous things. I’m a friend of Marvin’s. I think he’s tremendous. That fight he had against Paulo Costa was sensational.

“I called that fight. I was right there. He won that fight fair and square, but Paulo Costa had a lot of success, and some of the shots that Marvin ate, some of those kicks and the punches and the power that Costa has, Marvin took every single f*cking one of them. Never took a backwards step and fires right back every single time. It was a really inspiring performance. I was already a fan, but after that, I was like wow, this guy is incredible.”

Bisping is very high on the Italian middleweight, who’s won six of his past seven. Adesanya is set to rematch Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 271 on Feb. 12, and with Vettori back to winning ways and sitting at No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings, he could find himself back in the title picture soon.

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Twitter reacts to Marvin Vettori’s win over Paulo Costa in classic at UFC Fight Night 196

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