Former middleweight champion Michael Bisping’s decision to fight Kelvin Gastelum just three weeks after losing his title to Georges St-Pierre always seemed like a bad idea, and that was proven when he was viciously KO’d midway through the first round.
However, speaking on the latest episode of his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast, ‘The Count’ claims he has no regrets about taking the short-notice fight, though he admits that his own ego might have got the better of him.
“It didn’t go my way, as everybody knows and saw,” Bisping said. “I felt great going into that fight, I did. Looking back in hindsight, was I overtrained and emotionally and physically tired? Yes I was, but the problem with having a f***ing huge ego and thinking you can still beat people is that I knew that but I still thought I could beat Kelvin Gastelum. Not taking anything away from him. He caught me with a beautiful left hook that put me down. God bless him.
“It was a big gamble, it didn’t pay off. Had it paid off it would have been great but that’s what you do. You roll the dice, you give it a shot, and you hope for the best, and the best man, I guess that was Kelvin so well done to him.
“That fight was me trying to exorcise some inner demons and try and get back in the win column ASAP. As I said, it was a huge gamble and for many reasons it was the wrong move, but I don’t regret it. If you look at the grand scheme of things . . . I can see that it was the wrong move, but at the time it felt right, so I don’t regret it.
“After the GSP fight, when I agree to take the Kelvin Gastelum fight, I thought, ‘Well, I just had a week off but I was in great shape, so let’s get right back to it,’ and I sparred every day for a week. That’s all I did for Kelvin, Southpaws, five rounds, for five days, and then I flew out to China, and I was just done. Emotionally, physically, mentally, I was just spent.”
Looking to the future, Bisping says he no longer has an ambition to win the title back, but that he does intend to have one more fight before riding off into the sunset, with UFC Fight 127 in London, England on March 17th expected to play host to his retirement bout.
“I’m not trying to be the champion again. I had that, that was fun, it was a nice time in my life, I can always claim to have had that title, and now it’s time to move on with my life.
“I’m totally fine with it. I’m 38 years old. I’ve got a wife and kids. I’ve got other things I want to focus on in life. Will I do one more fight? Yeah, probably. But that phase of my life now is done and I’m happy with that. . . You can’t fight forever. I was a champion, no one remains a champion forever, and I’m proud of that.”