Not for the first time, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has indicated that, win or lose, his next fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 on November 4th could be his last.
“I think the career I’ve had, the years I’ve been in the UFC, the injuries I’ve had, the ups and downs, getting close to title fights and all of this, there’s a possibility — this might be my last ever fight,” Bisping told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I don’t know if I’ll fight again after this. So, what a way to go out if it is.”
The 38-year-old had previously been adamant that he wanted the lucrative match-up with GSP to ensure that he could secure his family’s financial future before he hangs up his gloves for good.
Still, the British star isn’t willing to commit 100% to the idea of retiring just yet and has left the door open for extending his long UFC tenure a little longer.
“I’ve been here for so long,” Bisping said. “I’ve done it for so long now, and there’s other things to do in life. I mean, I still love this, don’t get me wrong. But you can’t do it forever. You can’t do it forever, and Georges should’ve stayed retired. He should’ve retired as a champion. I’m going to beat Georges and I’ll retire as a champion — maybe. I haven’t made my mind up on that yet. It depends.”
There are compelling reasons for Bisping to call it a day, including physically as even with his recent success in the Octagon he’s taken a lot of punishment and he still has to address an ongoing issue with his eye that will require surgery when he does end his career.
Meanwhile, ‘The Count’ is luckier than most in that he has several avenues to continue making money post-retirement, including his role as an analyst for FOX Sports, and by the sounds of things his acting career is also still bearing fruit too.
“Next year I’ve got three acting projects lined up that are all big — three big movies and a Netflix series. I’ve got things going on outside the Octagon and I’ve got money that I can earn outside of the Octagon.
“Ultimately, we do this for the money. You’re doing this right now because you want to earn money. I fight in the UFC because I want to earn money. And if I can earn money outside of the Octagon that’s just as good, that I don’t have to risk my health for, then it makes sense, and I can retire as the champion and parlay that into an active, successful career outside of the Octagon.”
Still, it’s never an easy decision to make and so Bisping is also taking on-board the advice of those closest to him, and it seems they are virtually unanimous in their assessment that this would be the perfect time to walk away.
“My family wants me to retire. My wife wants me to retire. There’s a lot of people saying, ‘Mike, you should retire.’ My manager says it. So everyone’s in my ear saying, ‘Mike, you should retire, you should retire as champion.”