Michael Bisping’s legacy will live on after it was announced that Britain’s first ever UFC champion will be inducted in to the organisation’s Hall of Fame this summer.
The news was revealed during the UFC London main card at the weekend, where Merseysider Darren Till was upset by Jorge Masvidal in the main event at the O2 Arena.
The 40-year-old made history in 2016 when he won the middleweight title with a first round victory over adversary Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in Inglewood, California.
Bisping, originally from Clitheroe, then defended his belt when triumphing unanimously against Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in Manchester.
“I had absolutely no idea,” he said. “I just thought I was doing the usual sit down, smile, say ‘hi’, whatever. I saw the piece and, I’ll be honest, I was trying not to cry.
“I think I did shed a little tear. I don’t see very well so I couldn’t really see what it said and, of course, I had a tear in my eye so I couldn’t fully focus on what was being said.
“I saw something about ‘Hall of Fame’ but I thought it was about being a nominee. It turns out I’m in the Hall of Fame and I’m blown away.I truly am and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the UK.”
The winner of the Ultimate Fighter reality series, who has 20 career UFC wins, tied for the second most in history, will become the fifth fighter to join the Modern Wing alongside Ronda Rousey, Urijah Faber, B.J. Penn and Forrest Griffin.
The UFC Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on July 5th in Las Vegas at a venue yet to be named.
Bisping officially retired in December due to an eye injury, closing his career on the back of defeats to Georges St-Pierre at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where he conceded his crown, and then Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai.
He owns victories over the likes of Henderson, Anderson Silva, Rockhold, Cung Le, Brian Stann and Chris Leben in 11 years with the UFC.
“It’s hard to have the level of talent needed to compete in UFC for any amount of time, but Michael Bisping was able to have an 11-year career where he became a world champion and won ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ Not many people can say that,” UFC President Dana White said.
“He also came back and coached ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and is now one of the best analysts on our broadcast team.
“Michael has been a huge part of not only building our brand, but also the sport of mixed martial arts. He absolutely deserves to be in the UFC Hall of Fame.”