For Michael Bisping, Saturday’s result was one he’s been chasing for years.
Bisping survived the best Anderson Silva had to offer, earning a decision in the main event of UFC Fight Night 84 from London’s O2 Arena.
For a fighter who has been on the cusp of title contention for years, “The Count” admitted in the lead-up this was the biggest bout of his career. And he did not disappoint.
“I all I know I wanted this fight my entire life,” an emotional Bisping said. “I worship this guy. He is the greatest martial artist of all time, which is why I’m so emotional. This has been a life-long quest.
“I know I said things (in the lead-up), but the respect I have for (Silva), you cannot measure. I always wanted to be like that guy. Anderson, thank you.”
The fight seemed to be over at the end of the third round when Silva, a former UFC middleweight champion, floored Bisping with a flying knee just as the buzzer sounded. However, referee Herb Dean ruled he had not called an end to the contest and, despite looking almost out on his feet, Bisping came back in the fourth.
“When you get hit in the face, you kind of have to take a second to gather your thoughts,” Bisping said. “I didn’t think my face would look like this at the end of it.”
The 36-year-old Bisping earned his third straight wins since a loss to current division champion Luke Rockhold back in 2014, and improved to 5-2 over his last seven. The win was his first in London since defeating Yoshihiro Akiyama back in 2010.
“(The reaction from the fans) still blows my mind,” he said. “I know I’ve said it before, but you guys blew my mind again.”
With the win, Bisping moved ahead of Silva on the all-time middleweight wins chart with 14 UFC victories. Silva stands at 13 after his win in 2015 was taken away due to a failed drug test.