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24th Jan 2018

Michael Bisping has officially been offered a fight on UFC London card

The Octagon returns to the O2 in March

Darragh Murphy

Will we see ‘The Count’ make the walk one last time?

Bisping has been toying with the idea of retiring in his native England with a final fight on the UFC London card this March.

After an incredible 2016 which saw Bisping defeat one of the greatest of all time, claim the middleweight title by definitively knocking out one of his fiercest rivals and avenge his most infamous defeat in his first defence, the British veteran didn’t have the best 2017.

Bisping’s lucrative showdown with returning welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre ended with ‘The Count’ unconscious following a rear naked choke while he valiantly decided to jump right back into action with a short notice clash with Kelvin Gastelum just three weeks later, when he was knocked out by the young 185lber.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career, Bisping can be forgiven for wanting to go out on a high in front of his home fans and he’s maintained that the March 17 card in London’s O2 Arena would be the perfect event at which to bring the curtain down on his time as a professional mixed martial artist.

Bisping turned down the opportunity to meet former foe Vitor Belfort while he’s also received several offers from other middleweights.

And, on Tuesday, the 38-year-old revealed that he’d officially been approached by the UFC with a fight offer for his swansong, although he wouldn’t divulge the name.

“There’s a fight in the works for myself, and I’ve got until the end of the day to tell the UFC whether or not I’m taking it,” Bisping said on his podcast Believe You Me, as transcribed by MMA Fighting. “There’s an offer that’s been made to me, and all fairness to the UFC, I’ve been kind of taking my time to give them an answer so I’ve got until the end of the day to give them an answer.

“I’m just debating whether or not I take the fight. For me, whether or not those people can see, I have a bad eye. I have a bad eye and my wife doesn’t want me to continue fighting, and my manager doesn’t want me to continue fighting. I see out of that eye but not as well as I used to, and I’m still a young man so it’s kind of the reason I may hang the gloves up. My wife and manager and friends and people close to me say, ‘Mike, what do you want to do that for? You’ve done it. You’ve had the belt.’ I’ve done it. I’ve done what I set out to achieve.

“I kind of want to go do one last fight in England and they’re like, ‘So what? Five years from now or a year from now, people are gonna forget about all that and you can injure yourself even more.’ but you can injure yourself in any fight, whether or not you’re at 100% health or not. So that’s what we’re up to and I don’t know.”

Bisping’s family members understandably have their reservations about seeing the 30-9 fighter compete again but the TUF 3 may be tempted back by the fact that he could do with another payday, given that a judge recently ordered him to pay his former agent £320,000 in unpaid commissions dating from 2005 to 2011.

“There’s the payday,” Bisping said. “I’ve got some lawsuit bullsh*t that’s still going on. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but lawyers are very expensive.

“Also, one doesn’t want to go out on my last fight, that being the lasting impression on my MMA career. Also, I kind of feel that I owe it to the U.K. fans because they were so supportive throughout my career. I always envisioned in my mind having that retirement fight in London and there it is on a plate. I just need to take it but everyone around me is telling me not to.”