Michael (aka ‘The Count’) Bisping, born 28th February 1979, is a retired mixed martial artist from Manchester, England and is the former UFC Middleweight Champion with a record of 30–9.
Bisping, now 42, is a pioneer of MMA in the UK as he became the first UK fighter to main event a UFC card and is the first and only UK MMA fighter (to date) to win a UFC belt which has cemented him as the UK’s best ever MMA export. “The Count” holds notable wins over Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson, and Brian Stann.
The Count’s fighting style was bolstered by his background in kickboxing which showed in his clinical striking, but the most overpowering asset in Bisping’s arsenal was his unbelievable stamina and relentless will to win that found him success.
Despite not having one-punch, explosive power to shut down anyone’s and everyone’s lights, Bisping still holds 18 TKO/KO wins out of his 30 wins coming from his resilient ‘do or die’ onslaughts that opponents could not match.
Albeit with just 2 submissions to his name, The Count had underrated wrestling skills (he has a Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a Black belt in Yawara-ryu Jujutsu) that he displayed throughout his career and could hold his own against MMA’s elite grapplers.
Bisping’s career started in 2004 with a 38-second TKO victory; this would be the start of an unbelievable undefeated streak, as within just his 6th fight, he won the Cage Warriors Light Heavyweight Championship against Dave Radford.
Bisping would take a one-fight step out of Cage Warriors as he collected the FX3 Light Heavyweight Championship in his 7th fight against Alex Cook before returning to Cage Warriors to successfully defend his title 3 times, taking The Count to 10-0.
This impressive record granted Bisping a spot on The Ultimate Fighter Season 3, with which he would go on to start a blazing 4-0 run in the UFC. However, The Count would suffer his first career defeat to former Light Heavyweight Champion and MMA legend Rashad Evans causing Bisping to drop down to the UFC’s Middleweight division.
The Middleweight division offered new light as Bisping would go on a 3-fight win streak defeating Charles McCarthy, Jason Day and Chris Leben, which would send him into a title eliminator against Dan Henderson at UFC 100, to unfortunately come out on the losing end of an historic KO loss.
Bisping would then get a win on return to his hometown of Manchester, England, as he had a TKO win against Denis Kang but would lose in his next matchup against MMA great, Wanderlei Silva.
However, the ever-resilient Bisping would come firing back, putting together a 4-fight win streak earning him another title eliminator against Chael Sonnen, but The Count would fall at the final hurdle once again as he came out on the losing end of a controversial loss that Sonnen himself claimed he didn’t win.
The Count would go on a roller coaster ride in his next 6 fights, on an even 3-3, but after losing to Luke Rockhold in Sydney, Australia, Bisping would put together a 2-fight win streak that gave him a shot at the Middleweight GOAT Anderson Silva.
Here Bisping would take a decision victory in London, England in a Fight of The Night Performance taking Bisping to 3 straight wins.
At UFC 199, after Chris Weidman fell out of the main event, Bisping would step in on just two weeks’ notice to face the champion at the time, Luke Rockhold. This is where The Count made history with a left hook KO in round 1, making him the first, and only UFC Champion from the UK.
At UFC 204, Bisping would take revenge against old foe Dan Henderson as he would fight in front of his home country fans in London, taking a decision victory in an all-out war over 5 rounds.
UFC 217 would see a fight against two MMA legends as GSP would make his return to the world of MMA and the UFC octagon in a legacy matchup where he would return from an almost 4-year hiatus to defeat Bisping via submission in the 3rd round.
“The Count” would take the last fight of his career just 21 days after losing to GSP, as Anderson Silva was forced to pull out against Kelvin Gastelum. Bisping, who didn’t seem to have fully recovered from his defeat to GSP, would lose the final fight of his career in 2:30.
Despite ending on a 2-fight losing streak, this did not dampen the historic career of the UK’s best MMA export, being deservedly inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 5, 2019.
More importantly, he paved the way for future UK fighters giving hope that a UFC title is an attainable goal. Having since turned his attention to movies, you’ll also soon see him starring in “Never Back Down 4: Revolt”.
Now you have a snapshot background into ‘The Count’s’ career, let’s takedown Michael Bisping’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Ross Pointon – CWFC: Strike Force 4 (Nov. 26, 2005)
In his 10th fight and third defence of his Cage Warriors title, Bisping would take on fellow Englishman Ross Pointon, and it would only take 2 minutes for Bisping to show he’s the best that England and the UK has to offer.
At 30 seconds into round 1, the ball of muscle that is Pointon would throw Bisping to the ground, but The Count remained active from his back, threatening with submissions, causing Pointon to return to his feet in the next 30 seconds.
At 1:10 in, a high kick would hurt Pointon causing him to stumble to the ground, and Bisping would look to finish the fight, but a desperate takedown by Pointon allowed him to get Bisping to the ground. However, this was the beginning of the end as Pointon swings wildly and ends up getting caught in an armbar causing him to tap at 2 minutes of round 1.
This marked just the second and last submission victory of Bisping’s career as he was able to defend his title for a third time, which would catapult him to being selected for the third season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
4. Vs. Josh Haynes – TUF (June 24, 2006)
The undefeated 10-0 prospect, Bisping would meet Josh Haynes in the Ultimate Fighter final, and Bisping would start his UFC debut off in style as he became the Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner.
At a minute into round 1, Bisping would clinch Haynes up against the cage and look to land a takedown, and at 1:50 lands a massive rising knee that drops Haynes to the canvas; however, Bisping follows up with an illegal knee that causes a fight stoppage.
At 2:20 into the round, Bisping lands a sweeping takedown after being deducted a point for his illegal knee. He would quickly take Haynes’ back, yet Haynes would not give up and was able to scramble back to his feet.
With just 30 seconds left in the round, The Count lands another takedown and tries to look for a submission, but is unable to finish the fight, however he does enough to win the round.
In round 2, Bisping continues exerting immense pressure and forces Haynes up against the fence, and at a minute in, gets Haynes to the floor once again, seeming to almost finish a variation of the omoplata, but Haynes is able to tough it out and reverse the position taking top control.
However, 3 minutes in, Bisping sweeps Haynes and regains top control, raining down thunderous strikes as Haynes tries to regain his feet, but with just under a minute left in the round, Haynes looks exhausted and collapses to the ground. The Count gets the finish at 4:14 of round 2.
This was an outstandingly relentless performance, highlighting The Count’s unbelievably robust and rugged fitness – an asset that has helped him secure many a victory, and allowing him to become the Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner.
3. Vs. Jorge Rivera – UFC 127 (Feb. 27, 2011)
In a bitter build-up with the two trading insults up to the fight, this was set out to be a barn burner where Bisping would display his adept level of skill whilst keeping his composure.
At a minute into round 1, Bisping fires out a ducking double leg takedown that gets Rivera to the floor but is unable to control him for any significant amount of time.
At 2:15 in, Bisping lands another takedown and this time is able to land some damaging strikes; however at 2:45, he lands an illegal knee to a downward opponent causing a 1 point deduction, possibly as a result of the trash talk leading up to the fight. Bisping lands another takedown late in the round, which probably secured the 9-9 round due to the point deduction.
In round 2, at 10 seconds in, a frustrated Bisping is knocked down with a right hook but scrambles back to his feet as Rivera tries to find a finish, Bisping smartly clinches though, to prevent any further damage.
The previous takedowns seemed to have made Rivera more cautious as he had adopted a very conservative, low-output approach. Bisping punishes him for this, as, at 1:15 in, he lands a huge right hand and begins to employ the now infamous Bisping relentless speed that causes Rivera to crumble from continuous punishment. The fight is stopped at 1:54 of round 2.
The Count took his win streak to 3 after defeating Rivera in a bitter rivalry where lines seemed to be crossed in the build-up, clearly getting under Bisping’s skin as he explained in his post-fight interview.
2. Vs. Cung Le – UFC Fight Night 48 (Aug. 23, 2014)
After losing to Tim Kennedy, Bisping would look to get back on track against Hollywood star and undefeated kickboxer with a 17-0 record, Cung Le, in Macau, China.
In round 1, Bisping kept on the back foot and looked to counter Cung for the majority of the round as he looked to use his skillful footwork to outclass Le. The first round served as a ‘feeling out’ process with neither fighter throwing much until the last 10 seconds as they traded in the centre, with both landing clean shots.
In round 2, The Count begins to accelerate his output and it is now him on the front foot pressing the action and in doing so, manages to damage Le’s eye.
At 1:15 in, Bisping starts to put together impressive combinations that start to land, and Le’s eye begins to pour with blood. Bisping continues to land shot after shot and opens up a cut on the other side of Le’s face as he leaks blood from all sides. This causes the doctor to check out the severity of the cuts but he’s eventually cleared to continue.
Knowing the fight could be stopped due to cuts at any time, Le tries to come forward, but Bisping uses good footwork to evade the onslaught to clearly take the round.
In round 3, Le continues to be aggressive to start, but the cardio king that is Bisping – no stranger to high-paced fight intensity – is able to neutralize Le’s striking game with clinical counters.
At 3 minutes in, Bisping continuously darts in and lands 3-punch combinations, then exits the pocket, and continues to repeat this process worsening the damage to Le’s face. As round 3 ends, Le appears to be exhausted as his face bulges with bruises and cuts.
Round 4 commences, with Cung barely being able to see, and at 45 seconds in, The Count backs Cung up to the cage and begins to unload a barrage of strikes, dropping Cung to the mat and finishing the fight at 57 seconds of round 4.
An incredible, relentless performance from Bisping as he bounced back from his loss to Tim Kennedy, and this high-output fight earned him a well-deserved $50,000, Performance of The Night Bonus.
1. Vs. Luke Rockhold 2 – UFC 199 (June 4, 2016)
At just 2 weeks’ notice, The Count made history on a short-notice fight against long-time rival Luke Rockhold as he would become England and the UK’s first ever UFC Champion in a first-round destruction of Luke Rockhold.
To start, Rockhold comes out with a very kick-based game plan keeping Bisping at a distance but he seems very nonchalant as he bounces around with his hands down.
At 1:45, Bisping fires out a left hook as a foreshadowing blow that clips Rockhold flush as he continues to keep his right hand by his side.
At 3:25 in, The Count slips the jab of Rockhold and comes over the top with a left hook that he was looking to exact throughout the bout – it sends Rockhold tumbling over, and he quickly gets to his feet before another left sends him straight back down. Bisping finishes the fight against the cage at just 3:36 of round 1 making him the UFC Middleweight Champion.
An historic moment, with a camp of just 2 weeks in a vicious rivalry, and after coming up just short so many times before, Bisping was finally able to reach the pinnacle of the sport.