Michael Bisping: A Career Profile
By James Lee
Part 3: UFC 100 to Belfort
Battling on from his loss at UFC 100, Bisping returned just four months later to fight back in Manchester. The night was emotional. With everybody writing him off and concentrating on Dan Hardy’s rise, Bisping fought hard, earning the finish in the second round along with a fight of the night bonus of $40,000.
The emotion was clear when his son Callum entered the cage. This was the exact response he needed. Dominating a tough competitor in front of 16,000 of his own people.
As he wanted to boost his comeback run, he decided to face legend Wanderlei Silva. “The Axe Murderer” has a reputation for striking fear in his opponents. With desolating finishes dating back to 1996, Silva has deservingly built up his name in combat sports.
The fight didn’t go as Bisping had hoped. A 29-28 decision on all three judges scorecards was handed to the Brazilian.
Similarly to after UFC 100, many fans felt like Bisping wasn’t championship material after UFC 110. The belief was that he would become a journeyman. A fighter who would always stay around the top 15, but never have a crack at the world title.
After the Wanderlei Silva fight, Bisping took on two easier opponents in Dan Miller and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Both bouts ended in victory, before he crossed paths with who would become one of his biggest rivals.
Jorge Rivera burst onto the middleweight contender scene by winning three fights in a row. Upon taking on Bisping, “El Conquistador” riled up the Englishman before the bout. A dark side was unveiled due to his antics and one which followed him for years.
Thankfully for Bisping, he ended the rivalry by stopping Rivera in the second round. By the time of his win, the Ultimate Fighter reality show had found itself at Bisping’s feet for the third time.
“Mayhem” Miller was an enormous figure outside of the UFC before 2011. He was introduced into the UFC for a second time as coach on TUF 14 that saw the likes of TJ Dillashaw and John Dodson. By the end of the programme, the anticipation for the finale event had doubled.
In one of his better career performances, he finished Miller in the third round with vicious knees to the body to creep closer to his dream.
A middleweight title eliminator followed him next. The chance at gold lay in sight. A sniper shot away. One fight. Win and the chance of a lifetime was guaranteed.
As expected, Sonnen came out aggressive, pushing Bisping up against the fence and looking for the takedown with Bisping looking to defend and fire strikes of his own. Both men stood waiting for Bruce Buffer to declare the victor.
“Declaring the winner by unanimous decision… Chael Sonnen!” The Englishman had now lost his second title eliminator. This one less decisively and another American wrestler had halted the trek.
The next period of fighting was the lowest for Michael “The Count” Bisping. After being so close to the title, Bisping was now at the back of the queue. 2012 until 2014 would have been a successful period for a standard middleweight, but for a fighter who wanted to win the belt, four losses out of seven wasn’t ideal.
After the Sonnen loss, Bisping was successful in his next outing in Toronto. He confidently defeated Brian Stann and looked to reassert himself back into contention until he came up against “The Phenom” who put an abrupt stop to that.
The Englishman travelled to São Paulo to face Belfort and his supposed title run was over before it even began. The title drew further away as Belfort landed a head kick to finish..