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04th Mar 2018

Michael Bisping’s preferred retirement bout proves he’s the toughest UFC fighter ever

End on a high

Ben Kiely

They don’t come tougher than Michael Bisping

Michael Bisping has experienced just about everything the merciless fight game can throw at anyone.

He’s felt the euphoric highs of being a star. He’s been a trailblazer for his country. Before the show lost all relevance, he came through The Ultimate Fighter and coached on it. Of course, he reached the zenith by winning that coveted golden strap and subsequently headlining two huge PPVs as champion.

However, that stint as middleweight king came sandwiched between an outrageous amount of adversity. Prior to winning the belt, he lost numerous title eliminators.

While unconscious on the mat, he took a flying H-Bomb to the face from Dan Henderson, one of the hardest-hitting knockout artists the sport has ever seen. His retina was detached by a thunderous head kick from Vitor Belfort. He nearly got his head taken clean off by Anderson Silva’s knee.

His fall from the top was also devastating. In the biggest fight of his life, he was beaten down to the ground and submitted by Georges St-Pierre to lose the title. Then, three weeks later, he was viciously KO’d by highly-touted challenger Kelvin Gastelum.

The Swansong

‘The Count’ has made it clear that his next fight will be his last. He’s just turned 39 and, at the time of writing, he holds the record for most UFC fights and has the joint-most UFC wins alongside GSP and Donald Cerrone.

After taking on a much younger fighter in his last bout, he wants someone a little longer in the tooth for his retirement bout. He explained on his podcast Believe You Me that he doesn’t want to bow out with an up-and-comer making a name for himself off his fame.

“No, no, no, no, no. I’m not looking to fight some young guy to make a name off me and this and that. I want a fight that has meaning and somebody that’s respected and a fight with someone that has been around a long time, a fight that excites people. This is it, if I do decide to fight again.”

Completing the trilogy?

Michael Bisping

Bisping is 1-1 with Luke Rockhold. He was submitted via one-armed guillotine by Rockhold in 2014, then a year-and-a-half later, Bisping came in on short notice, floored him and won the title.

Since losing his belt at UFC 204, Rockhold has finished David Branch and more recently been rendered unconscious in brutal fashion by Yoel Romero. Despite that loss, Rockhold is still considered to be one of the world’s elite 185 lbers. Even though he’s six years his senior and coming off back-to-back defeats, Bisping would be well up for completing the trilogy.

“If that motherfucker wants to throw down at 205 then yeah, we can entertain that buddy, I’ve got no problem knocking you out again. I exposed Luke Rockhold. I knocked him out. David Branch nearly knocked him out, Yoel knocked him out. I quite literally took his soul. So if he wants to do it again, that’s one that quite literally would stoke the fire so to speak.”

Typical of Bisping, he would be willing to fight Rockhold at middleweight or light heavyweight. The only thing he’s seeking in return is the right deal from the promotion. If he’s going to fight again, he wants it to be worth his while.


“Yeah I’ll fight him at 205 or 185, I’m not bothered. That’s if I’m going to fight again and the deal is right.”

A whole lot tougher than that Rashad Evans rematch that was being rumoured for London.