It took one left hook to turn the narrative around Michael Bisping’s career from respected UFC veteran into a proper UFC Hall of Fame member. In his 26th bout in the Octagon and first title shot, his short-notice, upset win over Luke Rockhold catapulted his legacy into a new stratosphere.
The UFC journey for “The Count” started with the third season of The Ultimate Fighter. Competing on Team Ortiz, Bisping earned a pair of TKO victories that landed him in the light heavyweight final across from Josh Haynes, whom he also knocked out to earn the six-figure contract. After extending his undefeated record to 15-0 with a trio of wins, a split decision loss to Rashad Evans prompted Bisping to make the move down to middleweight.
There, he ripped another three wins off in a row and found himself back on The Ultimate Fighter – this time as a coach across from former PRIDE champion Dan Henderson. The two settled their secore at UFC 100 with a middleweight title shot on the line. Unfortunately for Bisping, he was on the wrong side of one of the most iconic knockouts in company history.
After splitting his next two bouts, Bisping would collect four consecutive wins from May 2010 to December 2011 that once again put him on the precipice of a title shot. Stepping up to fight Chael Sonnen, Bisping fell short via unanimous decision and spent the next three years splitting the next six fights concluding with a submission loss to Luke Rockhold in November 2014. Thus began Bisping’s late-career surge. A pair of decision wins over CB Dollaway and Thales Leites positioned Bisping for a fight against former middleweight champion Anderson Silva in London.
Michael Bisping's Best Mic Moments
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UFC Hall Of Famer Is Almost As Savage On The Mic As He Was In The Octagon
Michael Bisping's Best Mic Moments
Bisping acquitted himself well against the middleweight G.O.A.T. until Silva crushed him with a flying knee while Bisping signaled to his fallen mouthpiece. “Spider” thought the fight was over at the end of the third round, but referee Herb Dean remained steadfast that he had not called the fight. With two rounds to go, Bisping surged back and earned the decision win in one of the best fights of recent memory.
He parlayed that into the biggest fight of his life. When Chris Weidman withdrew from his title fight against Rockhold, Bisping stepped in on 17 days’ notice. Quickly, Bisping made his presence known at the pre-fight press conference with his famous “conceive, believe, achieve” teardown of Rockhold’s confident demeanor, and at UFC 199, he made good on his first crack at the title. After a decade on the roster, Bisping captured UFC gold. Four months later, he faced his old foe, Henderson, and got his revenge via unanimous decision to defend the belt.
Although Bisping would eventually lose his title to Georges St-Pierre and retire after a loss to Kelvin Gastelum, his standing amongst his peers was long-cemented.
One of the earliest fighters to carry the United Kingdom’s flag and the first from the UK to capture UFC gold, Bisping’s long and winding path to the belt serves as inspiration for any and every veteran. Bisping is very much still present in the sport, as well, serving as a color commentator on UFC broadcasts, providing his unique brand of analysis, humor and no nonsense attitude that he always carried with him throughout his career.
In March 2019, Bisping was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame under the modern era wing, but there’s no mistaking his role in defining and pioneering the blossoming MMA scene in the UK.