Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has retired from the sport of mixed martial arts after a colorful and varied fifteen-year career. Granted, there’s the supernova of Conor McGregor, but I’d go as far as to claim there is no European fighter that has done as much for the sport as Bisping did, especially after he got drafted into the UFC in 2006. There are too many great stories to tell in one single post, but three occurrences really stood out to me personally.
During the early years of his UFC run, especially leading up to the first time they ran his hometown of Manchester and his first main event in Birmingham the year after, the amount of press he had to do was insane. Legend has it that he got booked into so many media appointments, he didn’t even have proper time to eat, but was seen getting down a few burgers at McD’s in between interviews.
Bisping played the cocky Brit character perfectly and the malice that was poured out on him after he got posterized by Dan Henderson in 2009 knew no limits. Suffering a knockout as devastating as this would have certainly broken many fighters. Bisping not only continued fighting for another ten years and had two successful runs in 2010-11 and the even more remarkable one in 2015-16 that carried him all the way to the title, he also got one back on Hendo by beating the American in his retirement match.
Having competed on the UK circuit at the same time in 2004-05, Bisping got to witness the greatness of Anderson Silva first hand as he effortlessly beat the infamous Lee Murray in their 2004 encounter. Silva went on to become the most dominant middleweight champion in UFC history. Even though he seemed way out of reach when Bisping hit his mid-career slump that saw him go 3-4 between 2012 and 2014, he never lost the dream of eventually facing “The Spider” out of sight. Although that when it happened, the Brazilian was already past his prime, but Bisping beat the greatest middleweight ever in one of the most memorable fights of 2016.