It’s good to be Michael Bisping.
So far in 2016, Bisping not only became the first Brit to win a UFC championship by shocking heavily favored Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, but he also defeated one of MMA’s greats in Anderson Silva and furthered his career outside the octagon by acting in the upcoming blockbuster “xXx” sequel alongside Vin Diesel. Add in his supportive family and you get what some would consider the perfect life.
But as the 37-year-old prepares to defend the middleweight championship in front of a raucous home crowd in Manchester, England, at Saturday’s UFC 204, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always perfect for “The Count.”
Every fighter has a list of obstacles that were overcome on the path to success, but Bisping certainly has more than his share. He paid his dues, and now he’s reaping the benefits.
He isn’t shy about sharing stories of the sacrifices he made to get to where he is — sleeping in his car at times, struggling to make ends meet — but Bisping endured, and things looked to get on track when he won Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” starting his UFC career with a run of four straight victories. But stumbles would begin after his first professional loss against Rashad Evans at UFC 78.
Every time he built momentum, a loss would derail that progress. Combine that with numerous personal obstacles, including a detached retina he sustained in a loss against Vitor Belfort in January 2013, and this could easily have been a story about a fighter who had moments of brilliance on the mic and in the octagon but never fully realized his potential.
Thanks to persistence and a bit of good fortune, this is not that type of story. This is the story of a guy who kept getting back up and is making history — in more ways than one.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images