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Michael Bisping: A career retrospective

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Michael Bisping announced his retirement on his “Believe You Me” podcast on Monday and there is no doubt that the 14-year UFC veteran will go down as one of the biggest names in the history of MMA.

Bisping’s announcement has come as no real shock to MMA fans, as the Mancunian star had previously stated in interviews that he only had one or two fights left in him. Bisping was campaigning to fight Rashad Evans on the UFC London card earlier this year, but with niggling injuries, including a serious one to his eye and an injury to his “good eye,” and Bisping’s refusal to fight against any potential opponent with a history of doping, such as Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, retirement was always going to be on the cards.

A former Cage Warriors Light Heavyweight champion, and the first ever British UFC champion, Bisping was a huge player in increasing the popularity of MMA in Britain.

Bisping became the UFC’s middleweight champion following a KO victory over Luke Rockhold on just a few weeks notice, but lost the title last year to George St Pierre at UFC 217 via submission. He’d lose only a few weeks later by KO to Kelvin Gastelum in a bout that will go down as the last of his career.

The Ultimate Fighter season three winner burst onto the international scene after winning the show. His brash and often outspoken views on opponents and fans were instrumental in Bisping garnering a following and his ability to sell fights, because love him or hate him, you tuned in to see him fight.

It wasn’t just his action outside the Octagon that got fans angry at Bisping, but his actions in the cage too, including kneeing downed opponents, spitting at his opponents corner men and “intentional” eye gouging.

But Bisping wasn’t just a hype machine, he was a beast of a fighter, with a 30-9 record, with 17 wins coming via KO/TKO, setting several records while fighting in the promotion, including: the most fights in the UFC, the most wins in the UFC and the most significant strikes landed in the UFC.

Bisping not only cemented his legacy with wins in the cage, but with coaching on the outside of the cage too. ‘The Count’ was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter twice, mentoring fellow Englishman Ross Pearson, who would win the show in the USA versus UK series.

With two performance of the night honours and five fight of the night awards, Bisping will go down in history as one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters, and perhaps the most important British MMA fighter of all time.

What are your thoughts on Bisping’s retirement? Let me know by tweeting me @Cobleyreporting.

Kieran Cobley is currently studying at Leeds Trinity University in the UK for a degree in Sports Journalism and hails from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. After obtaining his degree, he hopes to become a full time MMA journalist and be regarded as one of the best. Cobley has years of MMA experience for his young age, primarily in Taekwondo and kickboxing, which he took up at age 7. Kieran currently writes for FightBooth, producing previews and reviews of MMA cards on the British scene.

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