Michael Bisping: A Hall of Fame Career

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Michael Bisping is announced as a newly elected member of the UFC Hall of Fame during the UFC Fight Night event at The O2 Arena on March 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It was announced during UFC London that Michael Bisping would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. His long and storied career includes winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 and the UFC middleweight title, amongst many other accolades. We at MMASucka published an article outlining the argument as to why Bisping should be in the Hall of Fame. Nine months after this article was published, the brash Brit’s storied career had the perfect end.

We take a look through the career of ‘The Count’, from his Ultimate Fighter days to bitter rivalries and headlining Madison Square Garden.

Ultimate Fighter

Michael Bisping started his career fighting on local British circuits, having trained martial arts for a number of years. He won the Cage Rage light heavyweight title in just his third fight. His second title came soon after when he won the Cage Warriors 205lbs belt just over a year after turning professional. Winning another belt on his way to The Ultimate Fighter, Bisping was making a name for himself as a strong British hopeful.

He entered the Ultimate Fighter Season 3 with a 10-0 record, all of his wins were finishes. He continued this streak of finishes, training under Tito Ortiz and winning all of his fights on the show.

Bisping strung together three more wins, before suffering his first career defeat. Following this loss to Rashad Evans, the British favourite made the move down to 185lbs. Picking up a number of wins at middleweight, he coached alongside Dan Henderson on the Ulitmate Fighter Season Nine.

Title Run

Following his loss at UFC 100 to Henderson, Michael Bisping complied a record of 5-1, beating some of the best names at middleweight. Losing to Chael Sonnen in a title eliminator he went 3-3 in his next six bouts. This run included a stoppage loss to Vitor Belfort, where Bisping suffered a detached retina. This put his career in danger and he needed five surgeries in order to keep his fighting career alive.

Michael Bisping faced Luke Rockhold at UFC Fight Night 55, and yet again was unable to gather any momentum. The two ignited a bitter rivalry in the lead up to their bout, culminating in Rockhold submitting Bisping. After the Rockhold loss, Bisping notched two wins on the bounce for the first time in four years. Bisping was then scheduled to headline the UFC London card in 2016. His opponent? The man who many regarded as the greatest 185lb fighter in UFC history. The one man that Bisping called out on numerous occasions. Anderson Silva. In a fight of the night performance, Bisping defeated Silva in what at the time was undoubtedly the highlight of his career to date.

‘Dream, achieve, believe’

Michael Bisping was then called in to compete for the middleweight championship after Chris Weidmann pulled out of the bout. His opponent at UFC 199? Longtime foe, Luke Rockhold. The build-up was exactly what we had hoped, with the pair going back and forth at press conferences and during interviews. Having taken the fight on two weeks notice, the English favourite had nothing to lose.

Walking out with his usual confidence, accompanied by coach Jason Parillo, not many tipped Bisping to win. The perennial underdog was to pull off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history that night. Catching Rockhold with a winging left hook and finishing him against the cage, Bisping had done it. His dream of becoming a UFC champion was now a reality, and luckily for us, he didn’t change a bit. Being his usual brash self, he drank beer and continued insult Rockhold at the post-fight press conference.

After emphatically knocking out his longtime rival Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping could have very easily retired. This wasn’t the case however as he had some old scores to settle.

Middleweight Championship Reign

For his first title defence, the UFC offered Michael Bisping the rematch with Dan Henderson. Although Henderson wasn’t the obvious #1 contender, Bisping, of course, used his brilliant skills on the mic to hype the fight.

Despite the main card starting at 3 am, UFC 204 sold out in a matter in minutes. Clearly excited to see Bisping fight in his hometown of Manchester for just the third time in the UFC, the British fans came out in their thousands. Bisping defeated Henderson by unanimous decision, retaining his middleweight crown in a back and forth, fight of the night.

So what would be next for Michael Bisping? UFC president Dana White announced that Bisping would defend his belt against former welterweight king, and #P4P great, Georges St Pierre. There were times where this fight seemed destined not to happen, but it came to fruition in November 2017. The two shared multiple press conferences together, with Bisping on top form as usual. Mocking St Pierre’s accent, and commenting on his time away from the octagon, ‘The Count’ was able to get fans to buy into the event.

The fight took place in the ‘Mecca of fight sports’, Madison Square Garden. In only the second ever UFC event in MSG, Bisping lost his title in a hard fought battle with St Pierre. Going out in his shield, Michael Bisping was choked unconscious. Showing great respect to GSP following the belt, his stock arguably went up (if possible) following the loss. What came next cemented himself as an ‘anywhere, anytime’ fighter. Just three weeks after losing his belt, Bisping stepped in to face future title challenger Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai. He lost the bout by KO in the first round, in what would prove to be his last UFC fight.

Legacy

Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping will go down as not only a British MMA pioneer but a world class fighter. He paved the way for British fighters in professional mixed martial arts, and always came to entertain. Mixing trash talk with both KO and submission ability, Bisping achieved stardom in the sport. No one epitomizes the ‘never give up on your dreams’ attitude like Michael Bisping. Despite multiple setbacks throughout his storied career, he won the belt, defended it and headlined the worlds most famous arena.

Whether it was his fighting style, his never say die attitude, or his willingness to fight anyone, Bisping will be remembered as an all-time great. Receiving the perfect reception at UFC Fight Night 147, the British crowd went wild upon hearing the news that one of their own would be inducted into the hall of fame.

Continuing his career with the UFC, Bisping does analyst work on ESPN for the UFC. Beginning his commentating career on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, he progressed to commentate on his first live event at UFC on ESPN+ 2. With a possible long-term future in commentating, we will likely hear his iconic accent in the future.

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