The Friday Five: June 1st, 2018

1.  Michael Bisping Retires

fter nearly six months of contemplation, the Count is now out.

Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping officially announced his retirement on the newest edition of his Believe You Me podcast.

“So obviously I’ve teased this for a long time now, I might fight again, I might not. And unfortunately it’s not a fight that I’m announcing. I am going to announce my official retirement from mixed martial arts,” Bisping said.

Bisping has been open about his indecision ever since his back to back loses to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, and a first round knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum later in the month at UFC Shanghai. Bisping admitted during the podcast that he considered retiring if he lost at UFC 199, but his plans changed when he won the middleweight title from Luke Rockhold.

Bisping, who has had longtime issues with his eye, had it compounded during his loss to Gastelum. Bisping confided that he started seeing “flashes” out of his left eye at a party in the aftermath of his loss to Gastelum, and those issues have persisted in the months since.

“I realized there’s no flash going on; it’s just my eye, and every time I look left, it flashes. And it still does it now when it’s dark,” Bisping said. “It’s light now so I can’t see it. So I started freaking out, thinking oh my God, I don’t believe this, I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye. I have problems with my bad eye, it doesn’t look good, so obviously I was kind of freaking out.”

2. Rico Verhoeven Returns At GLORY 54

GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven (53-10) returns to action this Saturday in Birmingham, England, when he takes on Mladen Brestovac (56-12) in the main event at GLORY 54. The bout is a rematch from their 2016 encounter at GLORY 28, which saw “The King of Kickboxing” get his hand raised after a dominant unanimous decision victory.

Verhoeven, 29, has won five fights in a row since defeating Brestovac, and is on the brink of setting the record for most wins in GLORY (he is currently tied at 16 with Robin van Roosmalen), and most title defenses (he currently holds the record with six). Meanwhile, Brestovac, the No.8-ranked GLORY heavyweight, has gone 5-1 since losing to the champion, knocking out his last two opponents: Jahfar Wilnis and Hesdy Gerges.

What’s changed since that GLORY 28 encounter?

“In him, I don’t think a lot has changed, but I’ve changed a lot,” Verhoeven told FIGHT SPORTS. “I think [I have] more experience, [I’m] more mature physically and mentally. I’ve been staying active, so these five-round fights are easy work for me.”

Credit: Twitter/@ufc

Even though he claimed that he wouldn’t return until the last few months of 2018, new UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov seems to have changed his tune.

Normagomedov, who is in the midst of observing Ramadan, spoke in a live stream on Tuesday and claims his team is already in negotiations for a return to the UFC in September or October.

“I don’t know when it’s going to be but now we talk about this with the UFC,” Nurmagomedov said.

“It’s going to be maybe 9 September or maybe 6 October. I don’t know about opponent – Conor [McGregor], GSP [Georges St-Pierre], whoever. It doesn’t matter, we’ll see. Next couple of weeks it’s going to be very fun because now we’re beginning to talk about my next fight with the UFC.”

4. WBC President Implores GGG To Make A Deal With Canelo

While it seems Gennady Golovkin has walked away from the negotiating table for a rematch with Canelo Alvarez, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman hopes that GGG reconsiders.

The two were looking to have their long awaited rematch on September 15th, after their May 5th date was scrapped due to Alvarez being suspended for two failed PED tests.

According to Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, Alvarez is looking to hold firm at a split of 65-35, while Golovkin is looking for an even split between both fighters.

Alvarez and the team at Golden Boy Promotions are holding firm at 65-35, due to that being the agreed upon split for their original May 5th rematch.

“What happened is that Golovkin is asking for the modification of an agreement that they agreed upon to fight each other in May. I do not know what amounts [they agreed to], but my feeling is that he is sacrificing pounds for a few cents,” said Sulaiman to ESPN Deportes.

“If your interest is to show that you are the best, that you are the champion and will beat Canelo, you have everything ready to sign [the contract] and get into the ring on September 15… that would be the recommendation that I would give to him.”

5.Jon Jones Feels He’s Still UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

While Jon Jones awaits his fate from USADA, and recently was fined, and had his license revoked by the California State Athletic Commission, he still feels like a champion.

On Wednesday, Jones took time from blasting Chuck Liddell, to thank a fan for a complement, and also take a shot at the light heavyweight division.

Jones also replied with this now deleted tweet (captured by MMAJunkie)

Jones sought redemption last year when he defeated Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, but would have his moment and title taken from him after testing positive for Turinabol in an in-competition drug test.

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