UFC 217 May Be Bisping’s Final Fight
With a career full of amazing moments and the biggest fight of his career ahead of him, Michael Bisping seems to be indicating that his next fight may be his last.
Bisping has remained a fixture at the highest levels of the sport for longer than nearly all of his contemporaries from UFC’s mid-2000’s boom. So with his Nov. 4 showdown against Georges St-Pierre on the horizon, this is a career defining moment that he may want to end on.
While on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, the current UFC middleweight champ and Fox Analyst told host Ariel Helwani that…
“It’s an iconic arena, it’s a big fight… It’s Georges St-Pierre. Everybody knows who Georges St-Pierre is. There’s not many people who have crossed over from the MMA fanbase into the mainstream, and Georges, I’d say he’s there. Maybe not as much as, say, a Conor (McGregor) or a Ronda (Rousey), but he’s not far behind, so it’s a big fight. And Georges brings a lot to the table. He’s a tough challenge, and as a said, it’s a big fight. I think this is going to be the biggest MMA fight of the year. There’s three title fights on the event, so it’s a huge event….
And yeah, I think the career I’ve had, the years I’ve been in the UFC, the injuries I’ve had, the ups and downs, getting close to title fights and all of this, there’s a possibility — this might be my last ever fight. I don’t know if I’ll fight again after this. So, what a way to go out if it is.”
Bisping, 38, who in June 2016 in a first round knockout of Luke Rockhold captured the UFC middleweight title and possibly rewrote the story of his career, yet “The Count” understands it may just be time to move on to the next chapter of his life.
“Just, I’ve been here for so long…I’ve done it for so long now, and there’s other things to do in life. I mean, I still love this, don’t get me wrong. But you can’t do it forever. You can’t do it forever, and Georges — Georges should’ve stayed retired. He should’ve retired as a champion. I’m going to beat Georges and I’ll retire as a champion, maybe. I haven’t made my mind up on that yet. It depends… If there’s enough money involved, maybe I’ll stick around. But as of right now, I don’t know. My family wants me to retire. My wife wants me to retire. There’s a lot of people saying, ‘Mike, you should retire.’ My manager says it. So everyone’s in my ear saying, ‘Mike, you should retire, you should retire as champion.’ I’ve earned some money along the way, I’ve had a great career, I’ve represented my country. I’ve achieved more through mixed martial arts than what I ever would’ve dreamed of. We can’t keep going forever. You’ve got to know when the time is right, and I’m not saying the time is right, but I am contemplating it.”
Bisping has had retirement on his mind prior to his 2016 title shot against Rockhold. He said his wife wanted him to retire “win or lose” after that fight, but once he won the belt, he took that option off the table. But now, as Bisping is closer to 40 than 35, let alone 30, and the opportunities available to him outside the fight game continue to grow, it’s a discussion he’s revisited ahead of UFC 217.
“Next year I’ve got three acting projects lined up that are all big — three big movies and a Netflix series. I’ve got things going on outside the Octagon and I’ve got money that I can earn outside of the Octagon. Ultimately, we do this for the money. You’re doing this right now because you want to earn money. I fight in the UFC because I want to earn money. And if I can earn money outside of the Octagon that’s just as good, that I don’t have to risk my health for, then it makes sense, and I can retire as the champion and parlay that into an active, successful career outside of the Octagon. And retiring a champion helps that. Retiring after you struggle through a ton of losses, and you once were champion and then you get seven shades of sh*t knocked out of you, you’re still making a payday — I’ve done myself an injustice there.”