Who Will Michael Bisping Fight in His Retirement Fight?
It’s been a weird kind of year for Michael Bisping. Having entered 2017 following the first successful defence of his surprise Middleweight title, he leaves it with consecutive defeats – but is probably more popular and respected by MMA fans than ever before.
Despite never flouting rules or failing drug tests, Bisping has been a widely disliked fighter due to what many deem as a “lack of class”.
He broke onto the scene after winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 3, and since then has aggravated many with – as Bleacher Report nicely put it – “[his] uniquely cocky and carefree approach”. This carefree approach often sees him goad his opponents after fights, most famously so, when he shocked UFC with his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold to claim the Middleweight title, with which he subsequently climbed on to the Octagon fence to celebrate… and shout abuse at the defeated Rockhold who was still on the ground receiving medical attention.
Bisping winning the Middleweight title should have been written into MMA folklore: he was the first Brit to win UFC gold, was 37 years old and took the fight on two weeks’ notice, before spectacularly knocking out Rockhold, who had previously beaten him with a submission in 2014.
Instead, it was Bisping’s goading directly after the fight – and in the post-fight presser that got just as much attention.
So, why has more love been coming towards the Manchester fighter? Well, while UFC’s star Conor McGregor has been one of the most inactive Champions of all time, debating which boxer or MMA fighter to take on next (you can bet online with potential opponents ranging from Paulie and Amir Khan, to Khabib and Tony Ferguson), Bisping has been the polar opposite.
After losing his Middleweight belt in a thrilling contest with the returning George St-Pierre, Bisping stunned the world by accepting another fight just 21 days after the bloody encounter.
Bisping’s performance against Kelvin Gastelum was nowhere near as impressive, with the British fighter being knocked out halfway through the first round. But the mere audacity to take a fight on such short notice – and after such a short recovery period – showed Bisping’s true warrior credentials.
Who Will Bisping Fight in What Could Be His Last Fight?
At 38 years old though, Bisping’s fighting days could well be coming to an end. Especially after his trainer, Jason Parillo, told MMA Junkie, “In my opinion, Michael Bisping’s done enough. I don’t think [he] ever has to fight again. I think that he has such a phenomenal career – if we are just fighting for money, maybe it’s not worth it at this point. He’s made a lot of money.”
Surely though, Bisping will want to go out with a (winning) bang though. So, who could he fight next?
Tension between himself and Yoel Romero has been bubbling up for a long time, with Bisping even tearing up a Cuban flag as Romero fought at UFC 213. It would seem an obvious match-up, although Bisping would surely enter as a considerable underdog to the dangerous Romero.
Alternatively, Bisping could complete the trilogy against Luke Rockhold, with the score at one-a-piece. Bad blood has never subsided between the pair, so it could prove another interesting match-up.
Another very interesting match-up – and a new rivalry for Bisping to fuel – would be against fellow UFC veteran, Lyoto Machida – which would surely prove very popular indeed with the MMA faithful.
Whoever his opponent though, a home bout at UFC London on March 17 will almost certainly be Bisping’s next – and possibly last – outing.