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How Good Was Michael Bisping?

Who is Michael Bisping?

Michael “The Count” Bisping is a 41-year-old former UFC champion. Born in Cyprus on a British military base, raised in Clitheroe, England, Bisping also has Polish warrior blood flowing through his veins.

Growing up a fighter, Bisping has now retired from the sport of MMA but stays involved with his Podcast, Believe You Me, with Luis. J Gomez and his commentary and analyst work for the UFC.

Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) during his fight against Dan Henderson in the UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam

Early MMA Career

Bisping started his early MMA career, racking up a 10-0 record from just about every regional UKMMA promotion at the time. From CageWarriors to FX3 Xplosion, the Englishman had admittedly wiped out the UKMMA roster. He got his own chance at the UFC when the UK vs USA season was picked. Going into the open trials, there was nobody more confident than ‘The Count’. In his own words, he had knocked out/beaten everybody in the room already. Bisping went on to win the whole competition, facing Josh Haynes in the final.

Over the next few years in the promotion, Bisping would come so close, yet so far to the title, many times. Seemingly always making it to the final hurdle, Bisping was never able to get over it.

Despite this, Bisping had a win record which included guys like Anderson Silva, Matt Hamill, Chris Leben, Brian Stann. Losing to only the elite, eg. Wanderlei, Rockhold, Henderson.

Last Minute Title Shot

After losing to Rockhold after hilariously telling the world he was Un-official Strikeforce champion of the world, Bisping took part in a certain sparring session with the American and was offered the shot on 2 weeks’ notice. As he said, it was almost typical of him to get so close, and finally get his shot on short notice. However, Bisping shocked the world, ending the fight in just one round, separating Rockhold from consciousness.

Bisping would then go onto avenge his other previous loss to Dan Henderson before losing the title to Georges St. Pierre. He would then, in typical Bisping fashion, accept a short-notice fight in China vs Gastelum. Losing via KO, Bisping spoke on his podcast about fearing for his good eye, which influenced his decision to call it a day on a legendary career.

UFC middleweight championship bout during the UFC 199 event at The Forum on June 4, 2016 in Inglewood, California.

What Made Bisping so Good?

Bisping had been a perennial contender for too long in the UFC, always having the ability to win a belt but never quite fulfilling it. It came as a surprise to everyone when he won it, but more due to the nature of it being a short-notice fight. Skillset-wise, Bisping ticks all the boxes to be a champion.

Striking

Bisping had the full repertoire on the feet. A converted southpaw, meaning he is originally left-handed, however, due to being trained as an orthodox, he places his left foot forward and his right foot behind. This meant that, whilst not having a McGregor-like one-two death touch, Bisping had more control over his Jab hand and was able to counter with powerful left hooks.

Another aspect of Bisping’s game that is often forgotten about is his Muay Thai. A fantastic kickboxer, the knees and elbows from Bisping are rarely mentioned, yet, from in the clinch, both were prominent features of his offense.

Here, vs Charles McCarthy, Bisping throws knees continuously to break the high tight guard McCarthy kept trying to deploy and ended up with the TKO stoppage.

Grappling

The grappling aspect is another side of Bisping’s game that is underappreciated. A black belt in traditional Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, Bisping has been grappling since he was 8 years old.

Later on in his career, his grappling was almost forgotten about by the fans it seems. Dominating performances against the likes of Jason Day are as much proof that’s needed of Bisping’s crushing top game, as well as being tricky off of his back, with armbars and triangles being thrown up.

How Good Was Michael Bisping Overall?

Bisping is a Hall of Fame inductee and has every right to do so. He’s by far and away from the greatest UK MMA fighter, and a genuine legend in the UFC. One of the most well-rounded fighters, Bisping fought with different era’s worth of fighters. Winning belts against a newer breed of Champion, showing just how incredibly adaptable he is.


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