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05th Jun 2018

Michael Bisping has revealed his exciting retirement plan

He intends to keep busy

Darragh Murphy

It was almost two years to the day since his most memorable victory that Michael Bisping announced his decision to retire.

Bisping provided us with one of the greatest fairy tale stories in mixed martial arts history when he stepped in on short notice and knocked out fierce rival Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 199.

After becoming the first British fighter to claim a UFC title by becoming middleweight champion on June 4, 2016, Bisping then went on to avenge his most brutal defeat by defending his belt against Dan Henderson in his native Manchester.

But for the first time in his career, ‘The Count’ suffered back-to-back defeats when he was finished by Georges St-Pierre and Kelvin Gastelum in the space of a month last year.

While he had been toying with the idea of one final outing before retiring, Bisping’s family seemingly convinced him that he had accomplished enough and he made the decision to hang up his gloves last week

The 39-year-old, who made his debut in 2004, has admitted that the eye injury picked up against Vitor Belfort five years ago also influenced his decision to walk away while his faculties were still intact.

“My right eye was constantly a worry,” Bisping told ESPN. “The legal requirement to fight is 20/100 vision. That’s not very good, and I passed by the skin of my teeth. I was always worried, every single fight, that perhaps I would get there and the commission would take a look at my eye and pull me.

“My left sees perfectly fine, but it’s at a higher chance of a detached retina. When that happened after my last fight, it panicked me.

“I’m ready to focus on other things, and I wouldn’t have been able to if I didn’t commit to retirement. I want to commentate for the Contender Series, and then move on to calling UFC fights. That’s the plan.”

Bisping, who regularly provides his analysis to Fox Sports 1, has high hopes to work his way up the commentary ranks via Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

With his fighting days behind him, The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner has admitted that he should never have agreed to be a late stand-in for the Gastelum fight, when former foe Anderson Silva was suspended and unable to compete.

“When I fought ‘GSP’ and lost the belt [in November], I should have retired there and then,” Bisping added. “I kind of knew.

“My plan was to defend the belt three times. Henderson, Georges, the No. 1 contender — then call it a day. Obviously, I didn’t win the second fight, so we didn’t get that far. But that was the plan.

“The time was right, honestly. It feels like a massive burden has been lifted off my shoulders, because I was always second-guessing, always thinking, ‘Am I gonna fight once more?’ Now, it’s done.”