Michael Bisping, a former UFC champion, empathizes with the challenges of retiring from MMA and has identified several fighters whom he believes retired at the perfect moment.
“The Count” achieved the UFC middleweight title towards the end of his career by causing an upset against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199. He successfully defended the belt in his subsequent bout against Dan Henderson.
However, his title reign came to an end with a loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, followed by a knockout defeat to Kelvin Gastelum shortly after. Following these setbacks, Bisping decided to retire from professional fighting, recognizing that it was the right time to step away from the sport.
Michael Bisping applauds Khabib, Nunes, and St-Pierre
Bisping openly acknowledged that accepting a swift turnaround against Gastelum may have been an unwise choice. However, on his YouTube channel, he recently delved into the challenge fighters face when determining the optimal moment to retire from the sport.
After citing a few instances where fighters clearly continued competing beyond their prime, Michael proceeded to identify three UFC champions whom he believes made the right decision to retire at the appropriate time.
“Khabib Nurmagomedov retired at 29-0. Not everyone gets to do that, not everyone gets to fight and stay undefeated and certainly retire as champion. But there’s a guy that did it absolutely perfect. Another one, she just retired recently.
Amanda Nunes retired as a two-weight division champion. Talk about a fairy tale, storybook ending. Georges St-Pierre – let’s be honest. Shout out to one of the GOATs.
Big Georges choked me out unconscious after four years away, got the belt, and then walked away forever with his legendary legacy intact and as a two-weight division champion.”
Bisping’s selections of Nurmagomedov, Nunes, and St-Pierre as fighters who retired as UFC champions are difficult to dispute. These three individuals consistently feature on the majority of fans’ lists as some of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport.
When did Bisping retire?
During the UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping event on January 19, 2013, Michael encountered Belfort in a middleweight division contest to determine the number one contender.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 29, 2018
In the second round of the fight, Belfort executed a precisely timed head kick that proved to be devastating for Bisping. The kick caused a retinal detachment in his right eye, and the subsequent ground-and-pound strikes inflicted further damage before the referee halted the bout.
Despite losing vision in his right eye, Michael exhibited remarkable determination and refused to give up. He continued to compete with vision in only one eye. Seven fights later, at UFC 199, Bisping achieved the unthinkable, defying all odds to become the UFC middleweight champion.
Michael fulfilled his lifelong dream by delivering an exceptional performance against Luke Rockhold. ‘The Count’ swiftly dispatched his opponent with a first-round knockout victory on that memorable night.
It is an extraordinary accomplishment for someone to compete at the highest level of one of the most perilous sports in the world and become a champion with just one functioning eye, making it a feat that may never be replicated.
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