For 11 years, Michael Bisping has Left Hook Larry-ed himself up to the tallest heights of the UFC ladder. He’s earned the UFC middleweight title, avenged two of his worst losses in the process, got a pretty cushy desk job, and even some movie gigs. At the age of 38 and the verge of what could be his biggest fight of his career, Bisping is thinking that it may be time to hang it up while he’s on top. If he can beat the legend Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, it’d be a helluva way to go out.
“It’s Georges St-Pierre. Everybody knows who Georges St-Pierre is. There’s not many people who have crossed over from the MMA fanbase into the mainstream, and Georges, I’d say he’s there. Maybe not as much as, say, a Conor [McGregor] or a Ronda [Rousey], but he’s not far behind, so it’s a big fight. And Georges brings a lot to the table. He’s a tough challenge, and as a said, it’s a big fight. I think this is going to be the biggest MMA fight of the year. […] I think the career I’ve had, the years I’ve been in the UFC, the injuries I’ve had, the ups and downs, getting close to title fights and all of this, there’s a possibility — this might be my last ever fight. I don’t know if I’ll fight again after this. So, what a way to go out if it is.”
— UFC (@ufc) September 19, 2017
“It’s a 50/50 [chance I retire]. It may or may not be. But not because — you know when you hear Dana [White] say, ‘When people start talking about retirement, that means they’re done.’ That doesn’t mean that at all. I’m just trying to think smartly here, because you can’t do it forever. You really can’t. And you’ve got to know when to walk away. We’ll see, I’m still enjoying it. I’ve just had a great training session with [coach] Jason Parillo. Sparred five fives this morning, ran this morning. I’m going to go train tonight. The fire is still there, I’m still hungry as ever. I still love this sport and I’m going to put a beating on GSP like he’s never experienced. I’m going to remind him why he retired.” — Michael Bisping on Monday’s The MMA Hour.
While nothing is written in stone, Micheal Bisping did say his family and even his manager has been whispering the ‘R’ word in his ear. Retire or not, if Bisping beats St-Pierre, he’ll have the most fights in UFC history. He already has the record for most wins, as well as being the first ever English UFC champion. With a ton of projects outside of the UFC in the pipeline, it looks like Bisping would be taking a break from competition either way.
“Next year I’ve got three acting projects lined up that are all big — three big movies and a Netflix series. I’ve got things going on outside the Octagon and I’ve got money that I can earn outside of the Octagon. […] If I can earn money outside of the Octagon that’s just as good, that I don’t have to risk my health for, then it makes sense, and I can retire as the champion and parlay that into an active, successful career outside of the Octagon.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/19/2017.