Very few fighters evoke the myriad of emotions among fans that current middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping (30-7) does. Foul-mouthed and brash, the champ loves to talk trash. He also loves to throw down, earning seven Performance of the Night bonuses in his UFC career. He’s won the most fights in UFC history and has been on the receiving end of some controversial wins, while simultaneously having plenty of controversial losses. Loved by many and hated by more, Bisping has been a staple in the middleweight top ten for more than a decade.
After a year of inactivity, he’s gearing up to face Georges St-Pierre in his long-awaited return to the octagon this Saturday at UFC 214. Before these two legends collide, let’s take a look back Michael Bisping’s top five victories.
#5 Brian Stann
Bisping met the heavy-handed Brian Stann at UFC 152 in 2012. Both men had just had win streaks halted by Chael Sonnen and were looking to get back on track. Many expected a striking affair worthy of the Fight of the Night bonus. Bisping had been vocal about the fact that he was a “more complete fighter” in the lead up to the bout and come fight night, he showed it.
Despite Stann stuffing a takedown early on, Bisping found his shooting range as the fight continued. He shifted from jabs to takedowns and completely controlled the action as he saw fit. Stann had some success on the feet but the grapple-heavy game plan proved to be too much for the Silver Star winning Marine. Bisping took a unanimous decision while showing he was more than just “brawler.”
#4 Josh Haynes
“The Count” entered season 3 of The Ultimate Fight with a perfect 10-0 record in 2006. He was known in the local British MMA scene, being as he was the Cage Rage light heavyweight champion, but he was about to become known to American audiences. Bisping tore through the competition on the show easily, finishing both his opponents with punches. This lead to him meeting Josh Haynes in finals.
Bisping had an obvious size and skill advantage. Haynes swung wildly and initiated the clinch early in the fight. Bisping won the clinch battles and used it to beat up Haynes on the feet and take the American to the ground. In the second round, Bisping swarmed Haynes with punches and knees, forcing “Big” John to step in and end the bout. Bisping had put on a clinic and made an impressive debut in the big show while crowning himself the Ultimate Fighter winner.
#3 Dan Henderson 2
Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson first met at the historic UFC 100 in 2009. The bout ended in one of the most brutal knockouts ever seen in the octagon; with Henderson landing his patented “H-Bomb” squarely on Bisping’s jaw. The two would rematch seven years later at UFC 204.
Yes, Henderson was past his prime at this point. But he was still dangerous, having just knocked out ranked fighter, Hector Lombard, with a stunning back elbow in his previous bout. Henderson quickly showed just how dangerous he still was, dropping Bisping early in the rematch. Bisping would have to deal with Henderson’s power throughout the bout. Each time he survived and kept the former PRIDE champion at range with kicks, jabs and straights. Bisping showed his heart and resilience on his way to a split decision victory. He had avenged the biggest and most embarrassing loss of his career while defending his title in an entertaining battle.
#2 Anderson Silva
This is another fight people say happened too late in Bisping’s opponent’s career. Anderson Silva was 40 years of age when the bout happened last year. Yet, it’s important to note, Bisping was no spring chicken at 36 years old.
Silva walked down Bisping in the first round and ate some hard shots as a result. “The Count” sent the former champion to the ground with a big left hand in the second round. In the third, Silva landed a huge flying knee at the bell. Bisping folded to the ground and Anderson Silva began to prematurely celebrate his victory. After some confusion, the fight went on, with Bisping landing a high volume of strikes and Silva showboating more than attacking. Bisping would go on to win a split decision over one of the greatest of all time in his home country. Bisping was finally able to capture a win over a fighter that he had called out for several years.
#1 Luke Rockhold 2
Luke Rockhold was set to defend his middleweight title in a rematch against Chris Weidman at UFC 199 in 2016. A little over two weeks before the bout, an injury forced Weidman out of the fight. Michael Bisping stepped up on short notice to rematch Rockhold. Their first fight had gone decisively Rockhold’s way until he choked out Bisping in the second round with a guillotine.
Facing a foe whom he had already fallen to, on short notice, lead to Bisping being a huge underdog in the rematch. The Englishman went into the bout with nothing to lose and everything to gain. It almost seemed as though Rockhold didn’t take him seriously. His hands were low, his chin up, as Bisping charged forward. A minute and a half into the fight, Bisping landed a pair of lefts that slumped Rockhold against the cage. The follow-up blows landed over and over as “Big” John Mccarthy stepped in and stopped the fight.
After 12 years as a professional MMA fighter, Michael Bisping had captured the most coveted title in the sport: UFC gold.