‘The Count’ will receive one more accolade, as Michael Bisping has been announced as the first inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame, class of 2019.
The UFC has announced the first Hall of Fame inductee in the class of 2019. That fighter? None other than former UFC middleweight champion and Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping. ‘The Count’ was on hand for the announcement (and apparently taken by surprise) at Saturday’s UFC London (UFC Fight Night 147) card at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Bisping, who is currently tied for the record for most UFC wins at 20 alongside Georges St. Pierre and Demian Maia, will join the hall in the “modern era” wing. It’s the icing on the cake for ‘The Count,’ whose career might be summed up in one word: perseverance.
Bisping (30-9) was a frequent bridesmaid throughout his career, always seeming to come up just short in title eliminators and other big fights. The brash Brit joined the UFC in 2006, winning The Ultimate Fighter 3 at light heavyweight. 10-0 upon entering the promotion, he won his next three fights after his TUF win, before falling short to Rashad Evans. The Evans fight sent Bisping packing to middleweight, where he won three more bouts before becoming a living meme after Dan Henderson disconnected him from consciousness at UFC 100.
That bout might have been the most memorable of Bisping’s career, for all the wrong reasons. However, again, perseverance was key. Bisping was a constant figure in the UFC middleweight division, staying active, and picking up quality wins against Yoshihiro Akiyama, Brian Stann, Cung Le, Alan Belcher, and others. While not without his controversy (including a spitting incident following his fight against Jorge Rivera at UFC 127), he became a top star in the promotion, and the face of MMA in the U.K.
Then came a short notice title fight rematch against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in 2016. Ten years after he had entered the promotion, Michael Bisping shocked everyone by knocking Rockhold out to capture the 185lb title. In his late 30s, ‘The Count’ had finally ascended to the top of the mountain.
Bisping would defend the belt once (against a handpicked opponent in the aging Dan Henderson), before being choked out by Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217 in New York in 2017. He would fight just once more, the following month at UFC Shanghai, before calling it a career. A history of eye issues that had put his vision at risk, and the unlikelihood of ever challenging for the title again, no doubt played a role in the decision.
Bisping now joins the likes of Ronda Rousey (2018) and Urijah Faber (2017) in the modern era wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. Incredibly, Bisping’s two biggest foes, Henderson and St. Pierre, have not yet been inducted into the Hall (although Henderson vs. Shogun was inducted in the Fights category).
This year’s UFC Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on July 5 in Las Vegas, NV, and will stream on UFC Fight Pass.