Michael Bisping has decided on the date of his retirement fight
A tougher fighter than Michael Bisping has simply never existed.
'The Count' has rebounded from vicious knockouts, continued fighting through a detached retina and accepted a bout against the then-world champion on 17 days' notice... which he won.
And Bisping has displayed that fighting spirit yet again by agreeing to step in to save the UFC Shanghai main event, which will take place just three weeks after he lost the middleweight title by being choked out cold by Georges St-Pierre.
There is no quit in Bisping. The man decided to drift into unconsciousness rather than tap out in the main event of UFC 217 and, just days later, when a potential USADA violation removed Anderson Silva from his scheduled 185lbs clash with Kelvin Gastelum, Bisping wanted to get back to doing what he does best.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) November 13, 2017
The Brit put his name forward to replace Silva and, following a few medical checks, the fight was made. But it won't be the last we'll see of the 38-year-old as Bisping has a different date in mind for his retirement bout.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner is eyeing the UFC's London card, next March, for his swansong.
"God bless Shanghai, I’m sure the people are very nice, but no," Bisping told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour when asked if he was considering hanging up his gloves this month.
"Again, I have nothing against China, they are a lovely race of people. I have never been to China, why is my retirement fight going to be in China?
"There’s a fight card on in London. I would love to be on that. I would love to be a part of that to say thank you to the British people who supported me and have my last fight there."
Bisping holds an impressive record of 19-0 in fights that have taken place in the United Kingdom and he is undoubtedly the biggest name in the history of British mixed martial arts.
"I definitely want my last fight to be in England. I’ve always wanted my last fight to be in England," he said.
March 17, 2018 certainly looks set to be the date of Bisping's final fight and by the time all is said and done, one would struggle to name a more storied career than his.
He was the first English fighter to headline a UFC event, he was the first English fighter to win a UFC title, he's beaten arguably the greatest of all time Anderson Silva and he avenged his brutal knockout defeat to Dan Henderson.
And he's more than happy with how his career is winding down.
"I’m at peace right now, I’ve been at peace for a long time. Contrary to what GSP said, I’m not an angry man. I’m a very happy man," Bisping added.
"It’s time to move on and do something else with my life and I’m not done yet. That’s why I want to fight Kelvin because I know I can do better than last week.
"I’m taking this fight just (because) you’re only as good as your last fight, and last week’s fight didn’t go according to plan. I feel good, I’m in good shape, I’ve got no injuries, so why not?
"I was planning on my last fight being in March. This one came out of the blue so I guess I’m going to do one extra. That wasn’t the plan, but circumstances have put me in this situation."