For a time, Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold were two of the most heated rivals in the UFC middleweight division. The two former champions went 1-1 across two bouts, and exchanged plenty of trash talk throughout the time they were intertwined.
Today, Michael Bisping is happily retired. Luke Rockhold, on the other hand, has fallen on hard times, losing three of his last four fights — all by knockout. Not even a move up to the light heavyweight division was able to revivify the former champion’s career, as he was knocked out by Jan Blachowicz in his debut in this heavier weight class.
Michael Bisping has witnessed Rockhold’s recent struggles — and is actually responsible for one of his knockout losses — but takes no pleasure in seeing his former rival take damage.
Bisping made some classy comments about Rockhold on a recent episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 22, 2019
“Not only is he not in my weight class anymore, but I’m not competing anymore,” he said (transcript via MMA News). “So I don’t look at Luke as a rival. I look at him as a human being and I wish him all the best, I really do. Listen, was he a bit of a tool in the lead-up to our fight? Yes. Did he give me tons and tons of ammo to use and make everybody laugh? Yes, he did, and for that, I will thank you. Did he fall to the power of ‘Left Hook Larry?’ Yes, he did, magnificently. And I thank you again for that. So why on earth would I be mad at this person?
“I wish him the best. I admire the skill and technique to knock somebody out, I never enjoy actually seeing somebody get knocked out,” Bisping continued. ‘And certainly somebody like Luke that had such a great career. To be knocked out three of his last four, you know, listen, I know what that feels like, to lose. So I don’t take pleasure in that, I really don’t. I wish him all the best. If he continues to fight and prove everybody wrong, that would be amazing. And if he retires and hangs it up, then God bless him.”
What do you think of these comments from Michael Bisping?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/23/2019.