Bisping living the dream

The Count could be back in contention for a shot at the title after beating Silva!

Michael Bisping realised a career-long ambition when beating legendary UFC fighter Anderson Silva at the O2 Arena in London.

Michael Bisping celebrates victory over Anderson Silva at the 02 Arena on Saturday night. Picture: Instagram: @mikebisping

Michael Bisping celebrates victory over Anderson Silva at the 02 Arena on Saturday night. Picture: Instagram: @mikebisping

The pair’s respective tenures in the Ultimate Fighting Championship have run parallel for almost a decade with the Count making his debut just two months after the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist was crowned middleweight champion.

Bisping, bred in Clitheroe, admittedly followed the Spider’s reign with intrigue as the knockout king sank his fangs in to the 185lb division which he dominated for seven years.

Now the 37-year-old is hoping that he’s pushed himself in to president Dana White’s thinking for a shot at the title once Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman have done their business in the summer.

“Anderson Silva and myself - our careers have ran parallel for 10 years,” he said. “I wanted to fight him for so long. He was the poster boy of the UFC for a while, he was wowing audiences.

“I used to stay up until 5 o’clock in the morning every time he fought to watch him. I always wanted to test him.

“That was the pinnacle of my career back then; he was the champion and I always wanted that. I just want to enjoy the moment.

“I’m feeling really good. This is a fight I’ve wanted for a long time. I have the utmost respect for Anderson Silva - he’s the greatest fighter of all time.

“For me this was a personal challenge and it’s by far the biggest win of my career. I thought I won the majority of the rounds.”

Bisping was awarded rounds one, two and four on the judges’ scorecards to claim a unanimous verdict with scores o0f 48-47 given across the board.

The home fighter decked Silva at the end of the first stanza with a devastating right hook before inflicting a brutal ground and pound.

But he had to recover from a knock down of his own in the third when a crushing left knee to the jaw left him dazed on the perimeter of the cage.

Bisping, who is now unbeaten in eight contests inside the Octagon on British soil, added: “For me this is the stuff that childhood dreams is made of - fighting in the nation’s capital at the O2 Arena, sold out against Anderson Silva.

“It doesn’t get any better than that. The fight was a war, a back and forth battle, I think the crowd enjoyed it, I enjoyed it and I won. It lived up to my expectations.

“There was no title on the line but it was an epic event for me and something I will always remember.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank the British public and all those who came out to support me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“It’s not the greatest moment in my life but certainly the greatest moment in my mixed martial arts career. It’s Anderson Silva and I just beat him in my home. What more do you want?”