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Michael Bisping, the UK's first UFC champion, has retired from MMA

'The Count' has called time on a career in which he was a pioneer for MMA in the UK

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Michael Bisping has retired from MMA, calling time on a stellar career in which he became the UK’s first UFC champion.

On Monday, ‘The Count’ revealed on his 'Believe You Me’ podcast that his time competing in MMA had come to an end.

“It ain’t worth it,” Bisping said. “What else am I going to do? I won the belt, I’ve had tons of wins. I’ve done everything I set out to achieve.”

Bisping, who grew up in Clitheroe, Lancashire, leaves the octagon with a 20-9 record in the UFC. He also shares the record for most fights and wins in the UFC, and believes there is nothing left for him to do in combat sports as a competitor.

“What’s the point of flogging a dead horse? Not that I’m a dead horse, but what’s the point? I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40 years old – the time is now,” he said.

Bisping's brash attitude and trash talk earned him a reputation as one of the UFC’s most divisive box office fighters. His personality also created opportunities outside of the octagon, as a TV pundit and even acting roles in films such as XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and My Name Is Lenny.

Michael Bisping's path from fighting for free to UFC champion

His undoubted career highlight came in June 2016 at UFC 199, when he knocked out Luke Rockhold to claim the UFC middleweight title on just a week’s notice.

He defended that title on UK soil when he beat Dan Henderson to retain the 185lb belt at UFC 204 in Manchester in October 2016. He also beat the legendary Anderson Silva during the same five-fight win streak that delivered his title.

However, Bisping lost his crown in November 2017 after being submitted by the returning Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 in New York, and talk of his impending retirement began to grow.

But Bisping kept going, and took a fight against Kelvin Gastelum in Shangai just three weeks after his defeat to GSP. He was knocked out in the first round.

Since that defeat, there was talk of one more fight for the Brit on home soil, with rumours around London, Liverpool and even an MMA fight with British boxer Tony Bellew – but none materialised and now ‘The Count’ is out.

“It’s been a long journey – in 2003, I started training,” he said. “So 15 years as a professional fighter, 12 or 13 years in the UFC. You can’t do it forever.”