It took Michael Bisping 25 fights inside the Octagon over the span of nearly a decade before he even competed for an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title. Even still, he needed a little help in the form of an injury to Chris Weidman to punch his Middleweight title ticket opposite then-champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 two months ago.
And "The Count" took full advantage, scoring a huge upset via sensational first round knockout. Embarrassing? Hardly. That's because The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 winner has been pursuing his dream the hard — and clean — way since he first stepped foot inside the Octagon back in 2006.
"Now that USADA is clamping down on performance enhancers, people are getting popped left and right," Bisping wrote at Champions.co. "They still have a long way to go, but people are getting caught, and that's what counts. It's funny, now that we have USADA in the mix, I've become world champion!
"I've been here all this time, and yes, I have improved, and my coaches have worked hard with me to get me where I am, but USADA's presence and my becoming world champion isn't such a crazy coincidence, he continued. "I think there's a reason for that ... since USADA has come in, I am now the champion. You do the math on that one and let me know what you come up with."
Indeed, USADA has flagged several UFC fighters, even superstars such as Brock Lesnar, for running afoul of its strict drug testing policy since the program was launched. And Bisping's Middleweight division is no exception, with top-ranked contenders like Yoel Romero, as well as legends like Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, getting tripped up.
In fact, Bisping is certain that his next opponent, Dan Henderson — who at age 45 has dabbled with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in the past — will "probably juice" ahead of their rematch at UFC 204, which is set for Sat., Oct. 8, 2016, in Manchester, England.