Michael Bisping began Martial arts when he was just 8 years old and went on to become one of the most influential Mixed Martial Artists for UK MMA. Bisping became the Cage Rage Champion, Cage Warriors Champion, and the UFC World Champion during his time in the octagon becoming one of the UFCs favourite fighters.
At 8 years old, Michael Bisping entered the world of Martial Arts, often missing out on schoolwork to go train and compete across the UK. His father, Jan Bisping recognised a special talent in Michael’s Martial Arts ability. However, at sixteen Michael left school and “did a series of dead-end jobs”. After meeting his future wife, Rebecca Bisping, and having two children, Michael met up with Paul Davies, his old Jiu-Jitsu coach. During this time with Davies, Michael was explained that UFC had boomed in America and was a rapidly rising MMA organisation. Michael quickly began training again and by April of 2004 was booked to fight in his MMA debut.
On the 10th of April 2004, Michael Bisping fought Steve Matthews in his MMA debut where he was able to knock out his opponent in under a minute. Dan Hardy described Michael Bisping as “unstoppable” in his early professional MMA fights. Michael would fight almost monthly picking up early knockouts and submissions in each of his fights.
Michael would go 10-0 in MMA when The Ultimate Fighter were holding open auditions in the UK, Michael said, “anyone who was decent, I had beaten them all”. Michael Bisping joined The Ultimate Fighter series three and Dan Hardy said, “he dominated it”. During the series, Michael fought Kristian Rothaermel and Ross Pointon and won by TKO both inside the first round. Michael was up against Josh Haynes in The Ultimate Fighter Finale, where Bisping won in the second round by TKO. This secured Michael a place in the UFC and a six-figure contract.
Michael’s first fight as a contracted UFC fighter was at UFC 66, against Eric Schafer, where he was able to add another first-round TKO to his record. Bisping would go 14-0 and 3-0 in the UFC, before suffering his first loss. The loss came at UFC 78 against future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Rashad Evans.
After suffering his first loss, Michael dropped down to Middleweight and at UFC 83, fought Charles McCarthy where the fight was stopped at the end of the round with an injury to his forearm.
Michael would go on a three-fight win streak before UFC 100, where he would face Dan Henderson for a title eliminator for the Middleweight belt. Dan Henderson would catch Bisping with a right hand which knocked Bisping out, Henderson then leaped off the octagon floor to land a brutal ground and pound strike.
Bisping would bounce back against Denis Kang where he won by TKO in the second round. However, Bisping was now booked to fight the Brazilian ‘Axe Murderer’, Wanderlei Silva. Bisping lost the fight via unanimous decision.
After this fight, Bisping would go on a four-fight win streak and would come up against Chael Sonnen which would be another title eliminator bout, where Michael came up short once again.
At UFC on FOX 7, Bisping fought Vitor Belfort. This fight would change the course of Michael’s career as he lost via KO in which he suffered a detached retina. After this fight, Bisping would go through an on and off patch where he would go 2-2 notably losing to Luke Rockhold, the future UFC Middleweight Champion.
Bisping would begin his winning streak against C.B Dolloway where he won by Decision, he would extend the winning streak against Thales Leites. After this fight, he would headline UFC Fight Night 84 in London against Former Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva. The fight was a back and forth affair. At the end of the third round, Michael Bisping lost his mouthguard and when there was a break in the action, Michael pointed to Referee Herb Dean that he didn’t have his mouthguard and was kneed on the buzzer of the third round. Despite this Michael came out to the fourth round and took control of the fight again. Michael won the fight by unanimous decision.
At UFC 199, Luke Rockhold was booked to fight Chris Weidman, but Weidman couldn’t fight. On two weeks’ notice, Bisping accepted the fight for the UFC Middleweight Championship against Luke Rockhold, who he previously lost against. Michael Bisping was in the middle of filming in Canada for a movie when he found out. Michael Bisping said afterward that he thought it was “typical of his life, that I [Bisping] get this shot on two weeks’ notice”. Jason Parillo noticed whilst studying Rockhold’s training footage he would be vulnerable to a left hook. During the fight, Bisping threw the left hook on several occasions which missed, however one landed which dropped Rockhold. He was able to get back to his feet and another left hook landed which led to the stoppage of the fight.
Bisping would defend his title against another former rival, Dan Henderson. During the fight, Michael was knocked down twice in the fight but was able to win the last three rounds so he won by unanimous decision.
Michael’s next fight would be against Georges St-Pierre, St-Pierre was able to take Michael down on multiple occasions, but Michael was still putting up a fight, at the end of the third round, St-Pierre caught Michael with a left hook which dropped Bisping. Georges St-Pierre was able to capitalise and quickly took the back of Bisping and sunk in a rear-naked choke.
Bisping’s last fight was in Shanghai against future title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. Michael was dropped halfway through the first round and was the fight was subsequently stopped after this.
Michael Bisping entered the UFC Hall of Fame in July of 2019 and is one of the most influential people in the development of MMA in the UK. Michael remains the only British fighter to capture UFC gold but he paved the way for the aspiring fighters in the UK.