Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping 3 seems like a no-brainer as a next fight for both men and a farewell bout for Bisping. However, it appears that there’s as much of a chance of that bout happening as Bisping never stepping in the Octagon again.
“The Count” said Wednesday night on his “Believe You Me” podcast that he still doesn’t know if he’ll take another fight. While he and Rockhold have been going back and forth on Twitter, and Rockhold claims there is a contract for a fight in play, Bisping is either playing coy or he really might retire.
“Listen, I already fought Luke Rockhold twice,” Bisping said. “The last time I beat him in such dominant fashion, you can’t really top that. Now, of course, one could argue that that’s a bit of a bitch move, that you’re not willing to put it on the line again, which of course I am. But honestly, I don’t know if I am gonna fight again.”
Bisping, 39, beat Rockhold to win the UFC middleweight title via first-round knockout at UFC 199 in June 2016. The British veteran came in on just 11 days notice to do it. Previously, Rockhold beat Bisping by second-round submission in November 2014. The rivalry between the two men has spanned four years and Rockhold has even said he would retire if he loses to Bisping again. So there would be a tremendous story there if the two did sign to compete again.
Bisping, though, doesn’t seem to have decided whether he’ll step away from fighting or not. He was supposed to fight at UFC London this weekend, but didn’t come to an agreement with the UFC. Instead, he’ll be holding a press conference and talking to the media.
“I was supposed to fight, but we couldn’t get the deal done and now that’s given me more time to reflect,” Bisping said. “I don’t know. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. If a deal comes my way that is good enough — and by the way, I’m not saying that as an insult to the UFC. They’re gonna run their business and I understand that. And I’ve gotta run mine. And if it’s mutual beneficial to all parties included, then yes. I will fight. But if it’s not, I’m happy with how things were.”
Bisping (30-9) dropped the middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 last November by third-round submission. Three weeks later, he took a fight with Kelvin Gastelum and was knocked out in the first round. Bisping, who has been knocked down more times than anyone else in UFC history, has said that his family prefer he retire. “The Count” has little left to prove. He’s been fighting professionally for 14 years, is an MMA pioneer in the United Kingdom and a surefire future UFC Hall of Famer.
The decision isn’t that simple, though, Bisping said. He doesn’t want to be one of those fighters who hangs up the gloves and then comes back six months later to compete again.
“I’m always scared of letting it go and saying goodbye,” Bisping said. “Because once you close the door, you close the door and you could never go back. And who knows what the future is gonna hold. Maybe it’s gonna be bright and rosy and all sunshine and rainbows. Maybe I’m gonna have some dark f*cking days, and I wish I took one last fight against Luke Rockhold. It’s a tough one. It’s a tough one to figure out.”
Right now, Bisping has a lot on his plate. He’s a top UFC analyst for Fox Sports, has the successful podcast and is getting regular acting roles in movies. Bisping doesn’t seem to be leaning toward one choice or another at this time.
“The reason I say I don’t know is because there’s simply a lot of things going on in my life right now. I’m very busy,” Bisping said. “Of course, you’ve gotta want it and I do want it, I do enjoy it and I do miss being in fight camp. And I think that’s one thing that all athletes have, the trouble of walking away.”