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Michael Bisping: ‘I don’t know if I’ll fight again after’ UFC 217 fight with Georges St-Pierre

Nov. 4 could be the last time we see UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping step inside the cage.

UFC 199: Rockhold v Bisping 2 Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Michael Bisping’s fight against Georges St-Pierre could be his last.

The UFC middleweight champion is set to defend his title for the second time against St-Pierre, the greatest welterweight of all time, in the UFC 217 main event this November. But nearing 40 years old, Bisping’s time might just be almost up.

“I think the career I’ve had, the years I’ve been in the UFC, the injuries I’ve had, the ups and downs, getting close to title fights and all of this, there’s a possibility — this might be my last ever fight,” Bisping told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s The MMA Hour (transcription via MMAFighting.com). “I don’t know if I’ll fight again after this. So, what a way to go out if it is.”

Bisping, who won the title with an upset knockout win over Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in June 2016, has fought in the UFC’s Octagon 27 times. He won The Ultimate Fighter 3 and made his debut in 2006.

“I’ve been here for so long,” Bisping said. “I’ve done it for so long now, and there’s other things to do in life. I mean, I still love this, don’t get me wrong. But you can’t do it forever. You can’t do it forever, and Georges should’ve stayed retired. He should’ve retired as a champion. I’m going to beat Georges and I’ll retire as a champion — maybe. I haven’t made my mind up on that yet. It depends.”

Bisping said his family has wanted him to retire since even before he won the 185-pound championship over a year ago, and more people around Bisping than ever currently share that sentiment. But, of course, he said, his plans can change if he receives an offer that he can’t refuse.

“If there’s enough money involved, maybe I’ll stick around,” he said. “But as of right now, I don’t know. My family wants me to retire. My wife wants me to retire. There’s a lot of people saying, ‘Mike, you should retire.’ My manager says it. So everyone’s in my ear saying, ‘Mike, you should retire, you should retire as champion.’

“I’ve earned some money along the way, I’ve had a great career, I’ve represented my country. I’ve achieved more through mixed martial arts than what I ever would’ve dreamed of. We can’t keep going forever. You’ve got to know when the time is right, and I’m not saying the time is right, but I am contemplating it.”

Bisping has taken his mixed martial arts career and turned it also into an acting career. Most recently, he appeared on screen in “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.” Per Bisping, he has several roles coming up in 2018, so at this point in time, he doesn’t need to fight to put food on the table for his family.

“Next year I’ve got three acting projects lined up that are all big — three big movies and a Netflix series. I’ve got things going on outside the Octagon and I’ve got money that I can earn outside of the Octagon,” Bisping said.

“Ultimately, we do this for the money. You’re doing this right now because you want to earn money. I fight in the UFC because I want to earn money. And if I can earn money outside of the Octagon that’s just as good, that I don’t have to risk my health for, then it makes sense, and I can retire as the champion and parlay that into an active, successful career outside of the Octagon. And retiring a champion helps that. Retiring after you struggle through a ton of losses, and you once were champion and then you get seven shades of sh-t knocked out of you, you’re still making a payday — I’ve done myself an injustice there.”

Before Bisping makes any drastic career moves, he has a date with former welterweight titleholder St-Pierre. Bisping and St-Pierre fight for the Brit’s title at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4. Also on the card are two other title fights: Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas.