UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping will head into surgery within the next couple of weeks to clean up some minor damage to his knee that will delay his next title defense.
Bisping last fought in October 2016 when he earned a unanimous decision victory over Dan Henderson to defend the belt for the first time after knocking out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 to win title.
Promotional commitments to his role in the film "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage" along with the holidays kept Bisping on the sidelines for the past couple of months and now he's preparing for knee surgery that will keep him out of action until at least May.
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"I actually found out just recently I've got to have a knee surgery," Bisping told the Fight Network in Canada. "Nothing major, just a clean up. I've got a slightly torn meniscus, a couple other things going on in there so I've got to get that knee surgery taken care of. We scheduled that and I should be having that in the next couple of weeks.
"Get that taken care of and I'll probably be defending the belt around May, something like that I would guess."
When Bisping returns, he's expected to meet No. 1 ranked contender Yoel Romero with the title on the line.
Romero most recently dispatched former middleweight champion Chris Weidman with a third round knockout, which marked his eighth win in a row in the UFC.
With Bisping out of action until at least May, the UFC hasn't made any official announcement about his next title defense with cards only currently scheduled through April.