A few weeks ago, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Michael Bisping declared he was unofficially retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) in an effort to turn away yet another call out ... this time from Gokhan Saki.
Tonight, “The Count” made it official, revealing on a recent edition of his “Believe You Me“ podcast that his time competing in MMA had indeed come to an end.
“It ain’t worth it,” Bisping said (via MMA Junkie). “What else am I going to do? I won the belt, I’ve had tons of wins. I’ve done everything I set out to achieve.” Bisping leaves the Octagon with a record-setting 29 appearances, claiming there is really nothing left for him to do in the combat game as a competitor.
“What’s the point of flogging a dead horse? Not that I’m a dead horse, but what’s the point? … I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40 years old – the time is now,” he said.
Amassing a 20-9 career MMA record, Bisping always seemed to be the target of numerous call outs. Undeterred, the brash Brit took on anyone thrown his way, picking up big wins over the likes of Cung Le, former 185-pound champion Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson, among others.
His most notable win, however, came at UFC 199 when he knocked out Luke Rockhold to claim the 185-pound strap on just a week’s notice (see it again here). After suffering a detached retina four years ago, Bisping kept on chugging along. But, after his knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum in Nov. 2017 (see it), “The Count” revealed he started having problems with his other eye, which could have been a big factor in his retirement.
“It’s been a long journey – in 2003, I started training,” he said. “So 15 years as a professional fighter, 12 or 13 years in the UFC. You can’t do it forever. I’ve done it for a long time, and of course I’ve got issues with my eye. After the [Kelvin] Gastelum fight, I started having issues with my good eye, which I’ve never spoken about before,” he added.
After enjoying a five-fight win streak from 2015 to 2016, including a successful title defense against Dan Henderson at UFC 204, Bisping took on Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, but was ultimately choked out by “Rush,” losing his coveted title in the process.
Indeed, from winning The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3, to setting countless records inside the Octagon (most wins in the 185-pound division), tied for most wins overall with St-Pierre at 20 and becoming a world champion -- including UFC’s first-ever British champ — Bisping has been around the UFC block a few times. And while his boisterous attitude didn’t always endear himself to some of his fellow combatants, “The Count” was one-of-a-kind ... and can truly say he did it his way.
“First of all thank you to my wife. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened. That’s a fact! She was incredible every single step of the way. My children, my dad. My dad was amazing and, of course, everyone in the U.K. and around the world that supported me.”
In honor of the former champion, feel free to share your fondest memory of “The Count’s” combat career in the comments section below.