Michael Bisping is adamant that he did not duck the top contenders during his UFC middleweight title reign.
At UFC 199, Michael Bisping pulled off one of the biggest upsets in title-fight history when he knocked off Luke Rockhold on short notice to become the new UFC middleweight champion. This would mark the beginning of one of the most unusual championship reigns in company history.
The reign lasted 16 months with two title defenses, and neither defense came against a top-10 opponent.
First, Bisping took on Dan Henderson in a rematch of their 2009 clash that saw Henderson turn in one of the most memorable knockouts of all time. Bisping would then defeat Henderson via unanimous decision at UFC 204 to earn his redemption.
And who can forget the final bout of GOAT candidate Georges St-Pierre, who returned after four years of retirement to challenge Bisping for the title fight? St-Pierre would go on to defeat Bisping and join the UFC’s selective double-champion’s club consisting of fighters that won world titles in multiple weight classes.
During Bisping’s reign, names like Robert Whittaker, Jacare Souza, and Yoel Romero were in line to face Bisping at one point or another. The main reason none of those fights came together was bad timing, including Bisping dealing with lingering health issues.
Despite the health issues, Bisping was willing to put off medical procedures if it meant fighting big names like Nick Diaz or, as was eventually the case, Georges St-Pierre. This led to Bisping coming under some criticism at the time, and even a United States Congressman questioned a company official about the legitimacy of the UFC as a sport, using Bisping’s championship reign as an example.
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“The Count” believes Islam Makhachev is off base for referring to Oliveira as a coward for these callouts because mixed martial artists are ultimately prize fighters, and he used himself and his 2016-2017 title reign as an example.
“Listen, I was champion of the world for a period of time. And when I was there, I was supposed to fight Robert Whittaker, but he got injured. I was then supposed to fight Yoel Romero, but I got injured. I had to have surgery on my left knee. Of course, ultimately, I had to have that knee replaced.
“But in the meantime, a fight with Georges St-Pierre materialized. Georges St-Pierre, one of the biggest box-office smashes that the UFC had ever saw, he wanted to come out of retirement, come up to 185 because I presented a new challenge for him. And the cheeky bugger probably thought he could beat me as well, which, as we know, he did. So I took that fight against Georges, and it was a great fight.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Michae Bisping, UFC 217
“But more importantly, I made a lot of money. It was, by far, the biggest payday of my career. Now I wasn’t dodging anyone. No, I was taking on all comers. I was fighting whoever the UFC put in front of me. And that’s what I did all the time. I never turned anybody down. But when Georges St-Pierre came about, yes, I wanted that fight! Of course, I did.
“Number 1, thought I could beat him. But secondly, no offense to Robert or Yoel, they weren’t big pay-per-view stars. Georges St-Pierre was. He was huge. And him coming back was a massive storyline, and we sold almost a million pay-per-view buys. Robert and Yoel, I think they did like 200,000, so there you go.”
Michael Bisping now works as a color commentator during UFC broadcasts and also has his own podcast and YouTube channel where he shares his insight on various hot topics happening across the sport of MMA. Bisping’s final bout came three weeks after his loss to St-Pierre, where he lost to Kelvin Gastelum via KO.
Everything ultimately worked out for Robert Whittaker, who went on to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza, who both exited the UFC without ever capturing company gold.
GSP is not ducking.I seriously didn’t think that Bisping could have been injured.I felt that he was stalling to keep his title longer.
Thanks to this thread I have changed my mind.
That Henderson fight to him was a gift both by the UFC and the Judges.
Jacare Yoel Mousasi?
I remember at the time, ppl on the forums and myself noticed he wasn’t really after the Yoel fight. Yoel was the rightful contender but he went to the hendo/gsp fights.
Even then, you can’t get tougher than the Count or ever doubt him being a badass
I love bisping but he lost to hendno the second fight… They put it in England cause every judge was going to give him the cards.
Matt Hammel (sp) beat him in a slit decision and bisping knows it
Every single American on here was bitching and Moaning that Hendo deserved to get that one last shot at glory. The same guy then all bitched and moaned that Mike ducked other fighters during his reign because they got butthurt when Mike battered Dan from pillar to post for 5 rounds
The only damaging strikes Mike landed in that fight were a couple of groin shots lol.
Wanderlei did finish him twice in one fight though.
The only other dude I can think of who got thrashed that badly was Matt Linland.
Yoel had popped hot because of his Brazilian “Compounding Pharmacy.” Bisping has one eye because of that juice monkey Vitor. Granted Dan was the face of TRT, to my knowledge he never actually broke the rules and got off once it wasn’t allowed. Shitty and fuck him for doing it, but was allowed at the time. I don’t blame Bisping for pushing Romero aside.
If I recall correctly, Mike thought he deserved the decision too. It seemed that Wand could have practically finished Mike at will if he hadn’t been so uncharacteristically cautious and defensive that match. He really only went in the last 5-10 seconds of the rounds and as you said…kept pretty much ending him quickly when he did.
Wand showed some great defensive work for once though. Almost DQ’d himself with a soccer kick at the very end too lol.
That said I don’t believe Bisping dodged anybody. He may have strived to make that GSP fight happen or put off another match in the meanwhile but he would have been stupid otherwise. Biggest money/name fight a guy too big for Connor could have hoped for… especially knowing he’s almost done too. Won’t begrudge him not being a tard.
Also testing cause noob…
Was supposed to be a gif but close haha
I think you may wanna watch the first couple rds again.
Thanks Smiff! And with a bonus too, good looking out!