My Favourite Fighter: Michael Bisping
By Bryan Perkins
When it comes to the question of my favourite fighter there are a few names that come to mind, such as George St Pierre and Dustin Poirier. However, there is one fighter that comfortably rises above the others, Michael Bisping.
There are multiple reasons that Bisping is my favourite fighter but I am only going to discuss a few of them in this article.
When I started to become interested in the sport around 2009 the UFC was the main organisation, and it was dominated by North and South American fighters such as GSP, Brock Lesnar and Anderson Silva.
Therefore, for European fans of the sport there weren’t many fighters we could look to who had a chance of competing with the top stars. Michael Bisping was just that, for British and European fans we could watch him knowing not only could he compete with the elite of the sport, but also he had a real chance of going on to be a UFC champion.
Being able to support a fighter from the same country that you can relate to is so important for many fans and is what keeps them coming back to the sport. This was certainly true for me in my first couple of years of watching the sport on a casual basis.
Fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Chael Sonnen have always preferred to take the fight to the ground and take advantage of their grappling skills. As a fan of MMA I do enjoy this style. However, on a personal level, I just prefer fighters that engage in kickboxing battles on the feet, which is exactly what Bisping did.
Throughout his time in the UFC Bisping had the lowest resting heart rate on the roster and it showed. Bisping was always pushing the pace, throwing lots of strikes and trying to keep the fight on the feet. He was certainly more than capable on the ground, something he showed at UFC 217 when he cut open GSP with slicing elbows from the bottom, but he was always trying to get back to his feet where he felt most comfortable.
The fight vs Denis Kang in Manchester highlights what I love about Bisping’s style as he unloaded on Kang with every possible strike both in and out of the clinch whilst never getting tired. The none stop action of a Bisping fight meant I always tuned in.
Fighting is never an easy career and every fighter goes through ups and downs. There are some, however, who have it easier than others such as Israel Adesanya who has had a meteoric rise to interim champion and already has a chance to become the undisputed middleweight champion.
I don’t want to take away anything from fighters that have an easier road to the belt, such as Adesanya because they still have to take their opportunity when it comes and that demands respect. However, there is something about a story like Bisping’s who went through ups and downs and plenty of adversity throughout his career which makes their eventual rise to the belt that much more satisfying to watch as a fan.
Bisping winning the belt at 37 years of age, with one working eye whilst having to fight an opponent he had previously lost to is just one of those stories that will always stick with me because it was anything but straight forward.
Ultimately, there isn’t just one reason that Bisping is my favourite fighter but a combination of his flag-bearing role for British MMA, fighting style and rollercoaster career are the main reasons he will always be my favourite fighter.
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