UFC 199 was one of the most eventful MMA shows in history, so it took something truly special to steal the show. Enter Michael Bisping (on just two weeks notice, no less), who took the UFC middleweight title from Luke Rockhold via KO in the main event, in the biggest upset of the year so far.
“How do I feel? I don’t know, it’s a weird one. Of course, I’m elated. I feel very happy,” Bisping said in a post-fight interview.
To make Bisping’s stunning victory all the more incredible, it was his first clean KO win in the UFC and it tied him for the most wins in UFC history (19) along with former welterweight champ Georges St Pierre. He is also the first British UFC champion in history.
“I always knew I was capable of this, I always knew I could do it,” said the British champ.
“I quit work when we had two children, and we were broke at the time as well – my wife supported every step of the way,” he continued. “I moved away – a lot of women wouldn’t let you do that. We were already in debt but she had faith in me that I could do this. I used to sleep in my car. People don’t know the journey I’ve been on. But here I am, I’m champion of the world. I want to thank everyone that helped me along the way.”
Since losing to Rockhold via submission in 2014, Bisping has continued to look better and better despite his relatively old age of 37. In avenging his loss to Rockhold, the Englishman earned his fourth straight victory. He attributes this fresh string of success to head coach Jason Parillo, who has helped him fine-tune the psychological aspect of his game.
“When I was younger, earlier on in my career, I used to let emotion fuel me – anger, specifically, is what I used to let fuel me,” he explained. “I’ve said this a million times but you’re never the best version of yourself in anything if you’re angry, if you’re emotional. So how can you be the best fighter? I worked on staying nice and calm. Prior to the fight I was even thinking, ‘S**t, I need to get more hyped up,’ because I was nice and calm. But it got the job done.”
The MMA community couldn’t help but rejoice for Bisping when he won the title, despite his persistently brash persona, as becoming champion was the culmination of 10 years of effort in the UFC where he has continuously fought top-level competition but always fallen short at the last hurdle… until now.
‘The Count’ showered his supporters and fellow Brits with thanks in his post-fight speech, and had one final message for everyone else: “(To) everybody that doubted me, kiss my a**e, because look at this s**t!”