Michael Bisping is still the first and only UFC champion to hail from Britain. That could all change this weekend when Leon Edwards competes against Kamaru Usman at UFC 278.
A rematch this Saturday. Let’s revisit a man who knows how to win gold in a rematch that he previously lost. Michael Bisping’s story is a remarkable one.
Within touching distance time and time again. It seemed throughout his career no matter how close he got to the belt, it would always elude him. That was until UFC 199 when Michael would rip up the script and write his own destiny.
Road to the Title
Always highly ranked in the UFC. His 2008 decision to drop to Middleweight put him right into contention. A three-fight winning streak saw him earn a title eliminator vs Dan Henderson. He lost this fight via KO.
After a win and loss, he put together a four-fight streak to once again fight in a title eliminator. Once again he found himself on the wrong side as he lost a unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen.
After this loss, he would go on a win-one loss-one run that lasted six fights. His last loss was against Luke Rockhold.
Taking out C.B Dollaway via unanimous decision he found himself back to winning ways. Following this up with another decision win, he beat former title challenger Thales Leites.
Next up was arguably the best win of his career. Headlining a UFC London card he took on Middleweight G.O.A.T Anderson Silva. In a back and forth fight Michael took the fight 48-47 on all three scorecards. An excellent performance from Bisping saw him ranked #7 in the division.
How the Title Fight Came About
A scheduled rematch between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold was set to headline UFC 199. However, with the event just weeks away, Chris Weidman had to withdraw from the bout due to injury.
The UFC looked high and wide for a new challenger. Approaching multiple contenders including Jacare Souza, all said no.
Relaxing and drinking on the set of his upcoming movie after his momentous win. Michael Bisping gets the call 17 days before the event to take on former foe Luke Rockhold for Middleweight gold. The answer was a resounding yes.
Michael has gone on record saying the first thing he did after the call was put down his beer and begin to run.
A Former Foe
If the steaks couldn’t get any bigger for Bisping. He was tasked with taking on an opponent who’d already defeated the Brit. Many used their initial meeting as a barometer for this second bout. With lots of people saying the fight would play a similar tune to the first.
Just shy of two years prior. Luke Rockhold defeated Michael Bisping via guillotine 57 seconds into round two. This loss was the last Michael had suffered before his championship fight.
The Big One
The stage was set. All the narrative was that it was another Luke Rockhold win. Unfortunately, there was one man involved who doesn’t do things by the book.
Both men looked good throughout the first few minutes. However, Luke’s right hand seemed to drop after every exchange.
Michael picked up on this and caught him with his left hook a couple of times. One final huge left hand landed, this time Luke didn’t take it well and went staggering across the cage.
The killer instinct of Michael Bisping set in and he followed his opponent before delivering some more fatal blows. 3:36 into round one it was all over.
The referee steps in and Michael Bisping is the new UFC Middleweight champion.
Now UFC champion the story seemed complete for Bisping. Overcoming all the odds and adversity. From losses to injury setbacks and even the loss of sight in his right eye. Michael defied all the odds.
Continuing with his rambunctious personality with the belt. He was giving every Middleweight on the planet a hard time. None more than Luke Rockhold.
He defended the belt once against another former opponent in Dan Henderson. Defeating the American at UFC 204 via unanimous decision in his backyard, Manchester.
It’s All Over
A career anyone could retire happy with. Michael Bisping has one of the most inspiring stories of any mixed martial artist. Being the most influential combatant in the history of UK MMA.
Now a Hall of Famer, and making waves as a commentator. His UFC title win will always be immortalised because of how spectacular it truly was. Forever the first Brit to win UFC gold, will there be another soon?
Can Leon Edwards replicate Michael Bisping and win UFC gold against the odds?
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images