During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping claimed there is a good chance that his upcoming fight with Georges St-Pierre will be the final one of his career.
“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,” the Englishman told Ariel Helwani. “I don’t know if I’ll fight again after this. So, what a way to go out if it is.”
“My family wants me to retire,” he subsequently added. “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.'”
While Bisping’s comments were rather surprising, they were also understandable. ‘The Count’ is after all 38 years old and has been a professional for over thirteen years. Though he has been enjoying an Indian summer over the last two years, winning five straight fights and claiming the middleweight title for the first time, he has been through many taxing, damaging wars during his career and has accumulated plenty of miles on his odometer. What’s more, a bout with a legend like St-Pierre inside the hallowed Madison Square Garden presents an ideal, romantic opportunity to bow out. Not to mention that he will earn the biggest payday of his career on that night and that he has careers in television analysis and acting to keep the checks coming in after he lays his gloves down for the last time.
Bisping did, however, say that he was still 50/50 on the whole thing and added the caveat, “If there’s enough money involved, maybe I’ll stick around.”
On a recent edition of his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast, Bisping identified one potential fight, a little bit out of left-field, that might be significant and lucrative enough to tempt him to carry on fighting.
“I was working with Daniel Cormier at the weekend and whilst, first and foremost, it was a lot of fun – we had a great time,” said Bisping. “All he kept talking about, all weekend, was, ‘Mike, I want to fight you next.'”
“I don’t know if he’s joking or if he’s serious, but if he is serious I’ll fight him next. Even though I said last week I’m going to retire, I would fight Daniel Cormier because that would be a huge fight.
The fight would obviously have to take place at light-heavyweight, as Cormier has struggled to make even the 205-pound limit in the past and would have no hope of boiling down to middleweight.
As he went on to mention on the podcast, Bisping did compete at light-heavyweight at the beginning of his career, winning season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show at that weight in 2006 and winning three straight fights before a loss to Rashad Evans inspired him to drop to middleweight.
In all likelihood, Cormier’s claims that he wants to fight Bisping were made in a joking manner, as he has a very strong relationship with American Kickboxing Academy teammate Luke Rokchold, who has been vociferously campaigning for a rematch with Bisping since the Brit knocked him out in a round last year.
Bisping, however, seems to believe that the recently reinstated light-heavyweight champion was being serious.
“DC is a great guy, he’s hilarious, hell of a fighter, and he seems to be targeting a fight with me,” said Bisping. “So, DC, if you’re serious, which I kind of think that you are, then, yeah, screw it. If for no other reason than to annoy everyone in the world, I will again fight somebody who does not fight at middleweight.”