Reigning UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping caught a few people off guard last month when he started to discuss his potential retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA). The long-time UFC veteran is nearing his biggest payday to date when he takes on Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, so the idea of hanging it up came at an awkward time.
Bisping, 38, has compiled a 20-7 record since making his promotional debut in 2006 and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when the time comes. But until then, “The Count” is changing his view on walking away from MMA after his upcoming battle with GSP.
“Listen, a lot of people were asking me about (retirement),” Bisping said during a UFC 217 press conference earlier today (Fri., Oct. 13, 2017) in Toronto (full video replay here). “I love this too much. I love this whole process, getting ready for a training camp. Eight weeks ago I was out of shape. Now I feel like I’m the champion of the world, I can beat anyone on this planet, especially this guy. I love that whole process. So, no, I won’t be retiring.”
If Bisping does in fact stick around to fight into 2018 then he offers the UFC middleweight division a plethora of potential title fights, reboots, and grudge matches. He’s a valued asset to the company and a fighter who is consistently proving doubters wrong. At UFC 217, against the great Georges St-Pierre, Bisping is looking to overcome yet another huge obstacle in his career.
“The truth of the matter is that Georges fell into the trap of what a lot of people fall into,” Bisping said. “You fell into the trap of thinking he can beat me – that’s it. That’s why you want to fight me. That’s why you keep asking Dana for me. Nobody else, because you think you can beat me. You think in your little tiny pea-brain that you can beat me. But you can’t.
“That will be the mistake you make, the trap that a lot of people fall into. They see me on TV, they say, ‘This guy is beatable.’ But what you can’t see is what I’ve got in (my heart and my mind). Nov. 4, you’re going to find out, pal.”
It’s good to know that Bisping is in the right state of mind entering UFC 217 next month. His middleweight matchup with GSP is the biggest fight for the promotion so far this year and the best opportunity Bisping may ever have to reach fans beyond his own grasp.
Win or lose, Bisping should be able to remain effective inside of the cage as he approaches 40 years of age. Whether or not the Englishman can hold onto his title before he gets there has yet to be seen.
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