The first member of the 2019 class of the UFC Hall of Fame will have a bit of international flair as former middleweight champion Michael Bisping gets the call to immortality.
Bisping (30-9), the first and only British fighter to win a UFC title, was announced while in attendance Saturday during the UFC Fight Night card in London. His induction will take place in Las Vegas during International Fight Week in early July.
In a second-place tie for most wins in UFC history with 20, longevity played a key role in building the 40-year-old Bisping’s legacy. He appeared in the third most fights in promotion history (29) and holds the record for most as a middleweight (24).
After making his UFC debut in 2006 as the winner of Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” it appeared as if Bisping was on pace to become best known as the best fighter never to compete for a UFC title after suffering memorable defeats each time he was on the verge. But as a credit to his consistency, heart and work ethic, Bisping never quite fell from the rankings and went on to do the best work in his career late.
At 37, Bisping opened 2016 with a hard-fought decision win over Anderson Silva in London. Four months later, he accepted a short-notice rematch opportunity against middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and scored an emotional upset win via first-round knockout, two years after losing badly to Rockhold in their first meeting.
Bisping closed the most important calendar year of his career by surviving a five-round decision against legend Dan Henderson, which helped “The Count” reverse the most memorable (and vicious) defeat of his career at UFC 100 in 2009 when Henderson won by brutal knockout.
Among the best trash talkers and self promoters in UFC history, Bisping went on to lose his 185-pound title to Georges St-Pierre in 2017 and retired in May 2018. Along with Silva, Rockhold and Henderson, Bisping also had wins over Cung Le, Brian Stann and Yoshihiro Akiyama.