UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is the poster child for suffering from PED use in MMA. ‘The Count’ has been knocked out only twice, by Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort, both of whom were on the now discredited Testosterone Replacement Therapy. In the past 22 fights, Bisping has lost just six times, to Henderson, Belfort, and Chael Sonnen who were on TRT, to Wanderlei Silva who was suspended for years after running from a PED test, and to Tim Kennedy and Luke Rockhold. Only the last two are clean.
Bisping has the most wins in UFC history, with 20. Originally fighting at light heavyweight, Bisping also holds the most wins at middleweight, with 16. And he knocked out Luke Rockhold and won the UFC middleweight championship in a fight he took on 17 days notice.
“Winning the belt, that was great,” said Bisping to Duane Finley for FloCombat. “That was validation for a lifetime’s work pretty much. The work we put in as fighters — we can do anything. If you’ve got a half-decent brain on your shoulders, which I have, the amount of time and effort and energy that you put into being a fighter, you can turn that towards anything. I could go to college and learn to be something pretty decent. I could go be a lawyer or go be a doctor or whatever. But I chose this, and I guess winning the belt, it’s just kind of validation.
“It makes all that sacrifice worth it, I guess. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but I guess that is the answer. It made everything worth it. It was redemption to myself, to my family, and it was also a big f*** you to the rest of the division and to a lot of journalists and the MMA media that wrote me off throughout the years.”
If Bisping again successfully defends his title on Saturday, he will hold wins over both the two longtime candidates for greatest fighter in UFC history – Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre. Unfortunately, Jon Jones has now three times disqualified himself from contention. And Demetrious Johnson and Conor McGregor have come to the conversation only recently. McGregor has never even successfully defended his belt.
“Georges [is] a big legend of the sport,” said Bisping. “I’m not underestimating him one bit. I’m expecting a tough fight. … I respect Georges, I know he’s got a hell of a skill set. He’s a fantastic athlete, and he brings a lot to the table.
“Beating him where so many people couldn’t and if they did he obviously avenged them – Matt Serra and Matt Hughes – beating him is huge. It’s huge. It further cements my legacy, in my opinion, as one of the greatest MMA fighters that’s ever lived.”
“I’ve never [taken] steroids my entire life. I’ve never cheated. I’ve done it the hard way through blood, sweat, and tears. As I said, a lot of people like to write me off and disparage me and say that my skill set isn’t there but all of a sudden we have USADA testing and lo and behold, I’m the champion.
“I think that speaks volumes, and beating Georges St-Pierre will further add to that.”