Michael Bisping was on a movie set with Vin Diesel just a couple of weeks before becoming the UFC middleweight champion.
At the time, Bisping wasn’t thinking about a fight as his acting career had begun to take hold. He was on set for the filming “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” in Toronto, but then an opportunity presented itself that could not be passed up.
On 17 days’ notice, Bisping received an unlikely chance to fight for the middleweight title at UFC 199 as a short-notice replacement after Chris Weidman had to pull out of the fight against the champion Luke Rockhold. It was a chance he spent his entire career looking for and it finally came out of nowhere.
“As I’m walking in, I start getting all these messages and it turns out Dana had just been on SportsCenter and announced that I was fighting Rockhold for the belt in two weeks,” Bisping told Burt Watson in MMA Junkie’s “Legend 2 Legend” series. “I was like, holy crap. What’s my weight? What’s my weight? So, I ran to the scale, I was like 218 pounds or something. I’m like, ‘Oh, no way.’”
Bisping immediately turned his attention from his work on set to ensure he did everything he could to step on the scale at championship weight.
“As I’m running, I was thinking, crap, this is so typical of my life because of all the doubts and negativity started creeping in,” Bisping said. “I’m thinking I’m fighting a guy that’s already beaten me, I’m taking the fight on two weeks’ notice, I haven’t been near an MMA gym in about three, four months because I’ve been in Toronto for ages filming a movie. And I don’t believe this.
“I’ve wanted a world title fight my entire life, I get it on two weeks’ notice in this kind of situation, I’m gonna lose this fight, and the whole world’s gonna say, ‘Told you, he was never that good anyway, was he?’”
Bisping explained the hectic few days in the lead up to the fight as finished filming and entered a blitz of an abbreviated training camp before arriving at The Forum with a chance to etch his name in history in the main event of the pay-per-view.
At 3:36 of the first round, the celebration was on after a left hand connected to the chin of Rockhold. Bisping accomplished the unthinkable and created one of the most lasting memories in the history of the sport.
“Fortunately, went to plan,” Bisping said. “The plan was always a left hook. We saw an opening. Luke kind of exposes his chin. … We got the job done.”
Listen to Bisping discuss the moment in the video above and be sure to check out the full Legend 2 Legend interview in the video below:
Up there with my favourite moments in MMA
I couldn’t believe it
I remember reading the play by play on sherdog and thinking “this can’t be right”. Had to see the replay on YouTube
Him winning a belt right before retirement was so deserving. He was one of the real ones.
Let’s talk about the hammil and Rivera fights instead.
Yeah. Illegal knees and spitting on your opening you cheated to beat. Henderson should have hit him a couple more times. He had time.
I didn’t like Bisping for most of his career but he stepped up that night against Rockhold and won the title and millions of fans respect, mine included. And to Bisping’s credit, his first defense he gave a rematch to Hendo, and he beat him. He’s also been an exceptional announcer since his retirement.
yeah i changed my tune on bis as well. but i still don’t like him in the booth.
Then think about how he did it all with one eye!
I was lucky enough to be there. Great moment.