Michael Bisping enjoyed undoubtedly the best year of his established career throughout 2016, as he claimed three impressive victories at the top of the UFC middleweight division.
The Cyprus-born Briton has long been involved in the organisation, having burst on to the scene way back in 2006 and it was fitting that after 10 years there he finally reached the pinnacle.
Bisping first stepped up to face UFC legend and future Hall of Famer Anderson ‘Spider’ Silva in February last year in Londn, England.
He rallied to an impressive, albeit controversial, decision success over the Brazilian MMA icon, setting himself for a shot at the 185 pounds world title.
The now 38-year-old veteran secured a fight with then title holder Luke Rockhold, who was fresh off the back of a stunning performance to dethrone Chris Weidman to become world middleweight champion.
Rockhold also already boasted a career win over Bisping from back in November 2014, when he was choked out in the second round at the hands of a sickening guillotine submission.
Bisping entered the octagon as the massive underdog in the UFC betting to prevail in the build-up to such a match-up on United States territory.
But, to everyone’s surprise, Bisping stunned the world by knocking out Rockhold in the first round of their awaited rematch in Inglewood, California to become the world champion of the division.
Michael Bisping by Nate Lindaman (CC BY 3.0)
Following that admirable triumph over such a threatening and dangerous opponent, the Manchester native then produced another superb display to gain revenge in another second scuffle with a former foe.
On another return to home soil in Manchester, Bisping secured a decision triumph over old rival Dan Henderson after five thrilling Championship rounds.
‘The Count’ rounded the year with three consecutive wins over top notch opponents to see himself become one of the most illustrious fighters in the roster.
Bisping then looked likely of securing further big bouts in 2017 and earn himself plenty of top encounters which would benefit both his career and bank balance at this stage of his life in MMA.
But that hasn’t been the case after going inactive for almost a year. Although, he has managed to gain one huge bout against another legend of the sport, George St Pierre.
Recent news has also emerged that this could well be the last we see of Bisping inside the cage after such a long and illustrious career at the top of the sport.
Whether he beats all-time legend and undefeated great St Pierre or not, Bisping previously outlined that this could well be his farewell outing in the organisation.
At 38 he is one of the more senior members of the UFC and has been taking plenty of punishment through the years, having made his professional MMA debut all the way back in 2004.
So, a win over St Pierre in their scrap on November 4th would undoubtedly be the best possible way to bow out on top for long-standing competitor Bisping.