When it’s all said and done, Michael Bisping will most certainly go down as a hall of famer.
The English striker realized his lifelong dream when he knocked out Luke Rockhold in the first round last year at UFC 199. He stepped in on 2 weeks’ notice and took out one of the best pound for pound fighters in Rockhold.
A career full of ups and downs, Bisping never stopped fighting. He amassed multiple wins in a row on numerous occasions only to fall short in the big number one contender fights.
He finally got past that hurdle when he defeated arguably the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva in front of his home crowd in London.
The win over Silva opened the door for Bisping to step in on short notice for Chris Weidman who was forced out of his rematch versus Rockhold.
Coming off a movie set in Canada, Bisping did not hesitate to take the massive opportunity, his first ever UFC title shot.
Widely considered the greatest upset in UFC history, Bisping did what nobody expected him to do and landed a clean left hook tumbling Rockhold to the ground.
He went on to defend his title in front of his home crowd in Manchester versus a familiar foe, Dan Henderson. After being dropped multiple times, the tough Brit rallied back to win on the judges’ scorecard. Bloodied and battered, Bisping never stopped fighting.
He was finally able to avenge his memorable knockout loss from UFC 100.
With many challengers looming, Bisping wanted a big money fight. Enter the returning legend, Georges St. Pierre who expressed genuine interest in coming back to fight Bisping for the middleweight title.
It took a while for the fight to come into fruition but Bisping was willing to wait. The fight finally materialized in one of the biggest cards of the year, UFC 217 in MSG.
After a back and forth battle, Bisping was dropped by a left hook and choked unconscious. The ever so tough Brit refused to tap.
While we all expected his next fight to be in London, Bisping shocked everyone by taking a short notice fight versus Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Shanghai. He replaced Anderson Silva who was forced to pull out due to a USADA violation.
The fight didn’t go his way once again as Kelvin landed a hard left hook that put the former champion out cold. Perhaps too soon to return but Bisping wouldn’t have it any other way.
He looked at it as an opportunity to get the bad taste of a loss out of his mouth but unfortunately wasn’t able to.
Bisping has now suffered the most knockdowns in UFC history and some wonder if he should have been cleared to fight Gastelum in Shanghai. To his credit, he also holds the record for most fights in UFC history as well as most significant strikes landed in UFC history.
With a striking and press forward approach, it’s inevitable that Bisping’s name would be attached to such statistics. Since he insists on having his final fight in front of his home crowd in London, that would leave him 4 months to rest.
Even that may not be enough but “The Count” will not be denied his final shot at glory. Let’s take a look at the possible opponents for Bisping’s last fight.
A legend, former champion and future hall of famer Lyoto Machida is a perfect dancing partner for Bisping. Also nearing the end of his career, Machida was sidelined for 2 years due to a USADA violation.
His return was unsuccessful as he suffered a first round knockout loss to Derek Brunson marking his third loss in a row. Machida is a big name who will gladly stand and trade with Bisping giving Bisping a good opportunity to shine.
While Masvidal is a former lightweight turned welterweight, Gamebred is always down to scrap. Since Bisping ripped up the Cuban flag while watching Romero take on Whittaker for the interim title, Masvidal has been after him.
He even stated that he’d fight him in the Whole Foods parking lot.
The two have been exchanging words ever since and have had several run-ins in New York and Shanghai. Masvidal was in Shanghai for the sole reason to be an alternate, should Gastelum miss weight or be forced to pull out. That’s how badly he wants to fight Michael Bisping.
Both fighters are coming off two losses in a row and the bad blood would for sure make for an exciting build up and an even more exciting contest.
Romero is definitely the more obvious choice but the last couple of months have changed the landscape of the middleweight division. Romero was on an 8 fight win streak before falling short to Whittaker in a fight that he was up on after 2 rounds.
A fight versus a retiring Bisping would do nothing for Romero’s title aspirations and would be quite a dangerous fight for Bisping to take in front of his home crowd. His good friend and teammate Jorge Masvidal is the better option to take revenge for the Cubans.
Rockhold was able to bounce back after his shocking and devastating loss to Bisping last year but that bitter taste of defeat is still there. Rockhold has made it clear that he does not like Bisping and even though a fight with him wouldn’t do him much in the rankings, it’s a loss that he’d definitely be motivated to avenge.
This would be a trilogy fight in one of the most heated rivalries in the past couple of years. It’s definitely a fight that would gage the interest of the public and end the chapter of the Bisping/Rockhold rivalry. Its 1-1 and a third fight would end any debate on who the better man is.
Weidman is also a former champion and a big name in the division. He most recently ended his 3 fight-losing skid with a 2nd round submission win over Kelvin Gastelum.
While Weidman just beat Gastelum who just beat Bisping, MMA math doesn’t always add up. Weidman’s win didn’t come without adversity as a thunderous, patented Gastelum left hook and potentially saved by the bell knocked him down late in the first round.
What would make a Bisping versus Weidman matchup fun is the fact that they also have been jawing at each other in the past couple of months. Both guys are former champions and Weidman is a big name for a final for the Brit.
Most people would disagree with my list and prefer it if Bisping fought an unranked opponent. However, with his brash personality and beef with multiple guys on the roster, it would only make sense for us to be entertained in Bisping’s final fight.
Vitor Belfort is another name people have been throwing around but with a current scheduled bout with the devastating Uriah Hall, it is unlikely that Belfort will come out unscathed and able to make a quick turnaround for March.
Love him or hate him, you will miss Michael Bisping when he’s gone. He has constantly put 110% in and out of the octagon and has gained the respect of many fans with his never die attitude.
Bisping has fought the who’s who in MMA and deserves a big final showdown in front of his home crowd.