The unusual saga of the proposed Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre fight has taken another twist.
You will recall that, in what was an unusual step for the UFC, it was announced that Georges St-Pierre’s long-awaited return to the UFC would take place in the division north of where he occupied the entirety of his octagon career to date. The Canadian legend was slated to receive an immediate title shot where he was expected to face divisional kingpin Michael Bisping in what could be described by some as a ‘super-fight’ — an inter-divisional match between two hugely popular fighters.
The thing is, despite a press conference, face-off’s and an official poster, a date where the two would lock horns was never announced. St-Pierre is mandated by USADA to work through a probationary phase of drug-testing before he’s deemed eligible to compete, as is the case with every fighter returning from a hiatus. The murky waters as to when the fight might eventually take place caused disenchantment in the middleweight frame, with Yoel Romero particularly aggrieved that he has not received the title shot he thought was secured when he knocked out Chris Weidman at UFC 205 last November.
UFC president Dana White appeared to have had a change of heart with relation to the bout when he commented on its status two weeks ago, hinting that he may cancel the bout and have Romero face Bisping this summer instead. However, Bisping has said that a knee injury he is dealing with my delay his own return to the cage, potentially freeing him up sometime around the rumoured October period when GSP is thought to be ready to compete.
“I know they’re trying to move on from the GSP fight,” Bisping said. “From my understanding, it looks like the GSP fight isn’t happening. I’ve yet to have a discussion with them about this. From my understanding, Georges still wants to fight me and I still want to fight Georges. So this is what I want to know: I want to know what the problem is. If the UFC have moved on, they got tired of waiting, whatever. But to my understanding, the fight was never gonna really happen in July anyway. I heard that from some sources right at the start. They said, ‘we’re hoping for July 8th but it’s probably not gonna be that.’
“Now they’re saying they want to do a fight in July and my knee isn’t gonna be ready in July. [St-Pierre] wasn’t gonna be ready until October, November. So to me, that plays perfectly but I know the UFC wants me to fight and they’re saying if I can’t fight that they’re gonna do an interim title fight.”
White has suggested that an interim title bout between Romero and surging Australian contender Robert Whittaker may appear to make sense for the division and Bisping is all for the idea.
“I’m assuming that they’re probably gonna do an interim title fight but I’ve got to speak to Dana. . . Probably Whittaker vs. Yoel, if I were the matchmakers, that’s what I’d do. Whittaker, we all know this, he’s on an absolute tear. I’ve got nothing against Robert Whittaker. Fine young man, great fighter, fights hard, got a lot of respect for him. Can’t say the same about Yoel. Yoel is certainly not on my Christmas card list. We all know my thoughts on him. He’s a scumbag, he’s a cheat, and that’s that. So if they do fight I, hope Whittaker beats the brains out of him.”
Never one to mince his words, that Michael Bisping.