He is far from title bout
Quite simply, Bisping has not beaten a title holder-calibre athlete yet. In fact, apart from Leban and maybe one or two others who are still talked about from time to time, all of the athletes who Bisping won against are either not fighting (at least not for known prmortions) or are so lowly ranked that nobody talks about them. Those who are still “in the mix” like Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva, all beaten “The Count”.
He was close to beat the best ever MMA athlete
On the contrary, Sonnen’s record shows a few bigger names including his dominant, although not successful, performance against the MW champ Anderson Silva. Sonnen must feel like the guy who has been legally “robbed” of his title and many agree with him. Sonnen is far from invincible though, he record shows several losses many of which by submission.
He has the UK fans and… some other fans and… that’s it
Bisping comes out of a win against a rusty Jason Miller who, after a long break out of the octagon, looked like a kid on his first ever MMA bout. The support that Bisping has from his fans in the UK is great but won’t have any effect in Chicago. In the USA Bisping’s fans will be limited to… a few.
He is a politician
Lastly, Sonnen is a politician, a debater and therefore very good at, whether intentionally or not, moving his opponents’ attention from what they need to do to what Sonnen is doing or saying.
To conclude, perhaps due to that “unlucky” loss via submission which cost him the belt, as well as the avoidance game played by Silva, Sonnen comes in more hungry, more angry, with bigger support and consequently with a more advantageous mind-set then Bisping. Although mind coaching should be part of any athlete, the recent decision to work with a mind coach is probably the confirmation that “The Count” was a little thrown and in need of some sort of assistance. As much as I would like to see a British athlete do well in Chigago, it looks like it won’t be Bisping the one to do so. But then again, this is MMA and anything can happen.