Michael Bisping UFC ()Michael Bisping UFC () © Copyright

Fighting fit with Bisping

In February, British UFC star Michael Bisping continued his quest to become world middleweight champion with a win against Anderson Silva at London’s O2 Arena. Here, the 36-year-old shares some of his training wisdom to help you out, whether you’re an MMA fighter or a regular in your local gym.

1. Getting ready to rumble

In a sport based around using a multitude of combat styles, Bisping has to be a master of all trades, which isn’t easy but all comes down to planning. “There are so many aspects to MMA,” he explains. “You have to do boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, wrestling, grappling, and on top of that, you need strength and conditioning. The hardest part is fitting it all in to a regime, so the sensible thing to do is prioritise and break it down into sections. I go to one gym for boxing and kickboxing, another for wrestling and sparring, and somewhere else for strength and conditioning.”

2. You learn the most from defeats

Bisping suffered as a UFC light heavyweight earlier in his career, so made the decision to drop down a weight division to middleweight in 2008 after a loss to Rashad Evans. “I’m very open-minded and I learn from my losses. You have to look at how and why you lost, and you have to address those problems,” he says. “The fact of the matter is that I was too small for that weight division – when everyone else was trying to cut weight before a fight, I was eating pasta and drinking gallons of water to try to put weight on.”

3. Fuelling the fight

Like all top athletes, Bisping works closely with nutritionists to maintain his weight, but he insists that the whole process is very simple. “I can’t overstate how important it is as a professional fighter to have a healthy, balanced diet,” he says. “It not only dictates your weight and appearance, but also your energy levels, recovery time and how you perform. Make little changes like substituting brown bread and rice for white,” he advises. “I focus on getting lots of whole wheat, fruit, vegetables and lean meat. People think that there’s a great art to nutrition, but there isn’t – to lose weight or get in shape, you have to burn more calories than you consume. It’s that simple.”

4. Mental might

The key to the British star’s long career is his ability to keep learning and progressing after setbacks. “The physical side is one thing, being mentally prepared is something else. I do a lot of meditating and visualising,” he says. “Before I leave the changing room, I think about the journey I’ve been on, the challenges I’ve overcome, and what it means to my family and fans. I chose this sport because I wanted to be successful, and I have been. But I still haven’t achieved what I set out to do – become world champion.”

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