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Count-Down - Bisping's Most Memorable Moments

Read on for the 12 most memorable moments of the MMA career of Michael "The Count" Bisping...
UFC middleweight contender Michael BispingAfter a ten month absence and a coaching stint on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, Michael "The Count" Bisping returns on December 3rd to headline the TUF14 finale in Las Vegas in a five round bout against his coaching nemesis Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Here are his 12 most memorable moments...

Mark Epstein I – July 10, 2004 – Cage Rage 7
Result – Bisping TKO2

Unbeaten, yet untested, a young Michael Bisping was just 2-0 as a pro when he got the call to take on then 6-3 Mark ‘The Beast’ Epstein, and almost immediately, Bisping got a rude welcome to the next level as he was dropped to a knee by a punch and later sent to the canvas, where he spent the majority of the first round fighting from his back. And though Bisping was obviously still raw as far as technique was concerned, his resilience was already evident, and he came out strong in the second round, eventually stopping Epstein at the 1:27 mark. He would notch a KO win over Epstein in their rematch four months later, and the 24-year old from Manchester was on his way to the top.

Josh Haynes – June 24, 2006 – TUF 3 Finale
Result – Bisping TKO2

With British fighters Mark Weir, Ian Freeman, Lee Murray and Leigh Remedios only having spotty success in the UFC, you wouldn’t have been criticized too much for suggesting that Bisping, along with Ross Pointon, weren’t going to make much noise on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter. And while Pointon made more fans for his personality than his fighting, Bisping quickly soared to the finals of TUF3, with his two round thrashing of Josh Haynes in the finale a mere formality. The UFC had a new Ultimate Fighter, and England finally had someone in the organization who looked like he would be staying around for a while.

Elvis Sinosic – April 21, 2007 – UFC 70
Result – Bisping TKO2

After getting his first post-TUF win over Eric Schafer at UFC 66, Bisping was the natural choice to lead the UFC back into the UK for UFC 70 in Manchester. It was the type of pressure cooker environment that could very well break a fighter, but Bisping took it all in stride, and from the moment he entered the M.E.N. Arena to Blur’s “Song 2”, he owned the hometown crowd. Sinosic took a little more convincing, but after scoring a knockdown and almost locking in a kimura, the Australian was stopped by Bisping in the second round, and a British star was born.

Matt Hamill – September 8, 2007 – UFC 75
Result – Bisping W3

Having done no wrong thus far in his UFC career, it was inevitable that somewhere along the line, Bisping would hit a bump in the road. That bump was his TUF3 housemate and rival Matt Hamill, a fighter Bisping figured he would have his way with given his superior striking. But it was Hamill who showed up with improved standup that night in London, and after three closely contested rounds, many thought the fighter ending up with a “1” on a previously unbeaten record would be Bisping. But it was Hamill on the short end of the split decision, sending fans into a frenzy on internet message boards for weeks. As for Bisping, he got the win, and wasn’t shy about letting people know about it. “Of course, don’t insult me like that,” said Bisping when asked at the post-fight press conference if he believed he deserved the decision. “I’ll give him the first round, I won the second, and I won the third.”

Rashad Evans – November 17, 2007 – UFC 78
Result – Evans W3

Two months after the Hamill bout, Bisping was back in action, and this time he was being asked to headline a pay-per-view event against fellow unbeaten Rashad Evans. This would be the true barometer of both fighters’ popularity, and after an entertaining war of words leading up to the bout, he and Evans delivered on all fronts, as the match garnered a considerable buzz by the time the opening bell rang. In the Octagon though, it would be Bisping falling short of victory for the first time, as Evans held off a late charge from the Brit to take a three round split decision.

Charles McCarthy – April 19, 2008 – UFC 83
Result – Bisping TKO1

After the loss to Evans, Bisping decided that it was time to test the waters at middleweight, where he wouldn’t be forced into the role of ‘small guy’ every time he fought. Of course, TUF4’s Charles McCarthy took exception to being Bisping’s ‘break-in’ fight at 185 pounds and he let Bisping know it at every opportunity. Such talk between the two made the fight perhaps the second most anticipated to Georges St-Pierre’s triumphant Montreal homecoming against Matt Serra, but Bisping wasn’t about to get into a prolonged war with ‘Chainsaw Charles’. Instead, Bisping stalked his foe, avoided a mid-round submission attempt and then proceeded to unleash a barrage of knees that broke McCarthy’s arm and forced a halt to the fight at the end of the first round. Middleweight? No problem.

Chris Leben – October 18, 2008 – UFC 89
Result – Bisping W3

After the win over McCarthy, Bisping made short work of Jason Day at UFC 85 and was then given another headlining gig against Chris Leben in Birmingham, England. Now matched up with a striker for the first time since his TUF3 win over Haynes, Bisping was expected to engage in a toe-to-toe brawl with Leben. But showing maturity and restraint, Bisping used a disciplined stick and move strategy that kept the wild-swinging Leben at bay and allowed him to sail to a three round unanimous decision victory. It wasn’t going to win any Fight of the Year awards, but in victory, Bisping showed that he wasn’t the same fighter that beat Mark Epstein four years earlier. He was a versatile and dangerous contender now.

Dan Henderson – July 11, 2009 – UFC 100
Result – Henderson KO2

Following the win over Leben, Bisping locked horns with MMA superstar Dan Henderson as a coach on season nine of The Ultimate Fighter and led two members of his team, Ross Pearson and James Wilks, to victory on the show. Bisping wasn’t going to be so fortunate against Hendo when they met in the Octagon at UFC 100, and in a night when nothing went right, ‘The Count’ was knocked out in spectacular fashion by the former two division PRIDE champion. It was a devastating defeat for Bisping, one that would take some time to recover from.

Denis Kang – November 14, 2009 – UFC 105
Result – Bisping TKO2

When Bisping returned to action after the KO loss to Henderson, the entire MMA world was watching to see if the Brit was going to be able to recover – not just physically, but mentally – from the defeat. And he didn’t get any gimmes in his return, as he was pitted against another international star in Denis Kang, a fighter who wasted no time in testing Bisping’s chin in the first round. Yet after some shaky early moments, Bisping – his back pinned to the wall careerwise – roared out of his corner for the second round and halted Kang in the second round. ‘The Count’ was back, proving that fighters aren’t defined by how they get knocked down, but how they get back up.

Wanderlei Silva – February 20, 2010 – UFC 110
Result – Silva W3

After his stirring return against Kang, all Bisping needed to kick off 2010 in fine fashion was to defeat the legendary former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva. And for much of the fight it looked like Bisping would do just that, but surges from “The Axe Murderer” at the ends of round two and three that saw the Brit caught in a guillotine choke and then dropped by a hard right hand did enough to sway the judges and award Silva the unanimous decision win.

Dan Miller – May 29, 2010 – UFC 114
Result – Bisping W3

Next up for Bisping after the Silva bout was tough New Jersey product Dan Miller, a fighter who didn’t have the name recognition of a Silva, Henderson, or Evans, but who was just as capable of pulling off the win on fight night. Bisping knew it, and he prepared accordingly, delivering a mature and dominant performance en route to a three round unanimous decision victory over his game foe.

Jorge Rivera – February 27, 2011 - UFC 127
Result – Bisping TKO2

The lead-up to this bout between the veteran middleweights was beyond heated, yet on fight night, it was Bisping who got his revenge on “El Conquistador,” as he stopped Jorge Rivera in the second round. It wasn’t a win that was going to move “The Count” closer to a title shot, but it was a solid victory, and if he can mimic that performance against Miller on December 3rd, 2012 should promise to be a good one for the pride of Manchester.

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