Former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre finally ends his four-year “break” from MMA when he challenges middleweight champ Michael Bisping at UFC 217.
St-Pierre often teased of a comeback during his extended sabbatical, but many thought he’d never return to the sport that made him a multi-millionaire and international superstar. However, the itch returned like a bad rash and the now-36-year-old just had to scratch it.
His comeback bout of choice was to face Bisping in a division he has never competed in. The weight cut will be far easier on an aged St-Pierre, so the decision to jump weight classes at this stage in his illustrious career makes sense. It’s also the biggest fight currently available for him among all of the 170-185 pound options.
Despite his long layoff, St-Pierre is still favored to beat Bisping and become just the fourth athlete in UFC history to capture titles in multiple divisions. But then what would be next for a victorious GSP?
Apparently, St-Pierre would have to defend the middleweight crown in his next outing.
“That wasn’t my initial plan, but I understand the UFC’s point of view,” St-Pierre said on The MMA Hour. “They want to protect their titles. They don’t want to delay the defense of their titles, because they don’t want to make people wait.
“I have to defend my title. It’s written in my contract. I have to defend my title if I win.”
That doesn’t make too much since because the middleweight division already has an interim champ in Robert Whittaker, so there’s really no holding up of anything if St-Pierre wanted to hunt a more lucrative fight.
No disrespect to Whittaker, but St-Pierre didn’t risk his legacy in coming back to fight the Whittakers of the MMA world. He’s here to bump his resume while banking in big bouts, not fight someone the mainstream has never hard of who won’t help him sell pay-per-views.
Unfortunately for St-Pierre, the Whittaker path is the one the UFC has him traveling down.
“You never know in advance,” St-Pierre said of his next opponent. “But if we follow the logic, that’s what the UFC told me. That’s what they signed me for.”
UFC 217 takes place November 4 inside NYC’s Madison Square Garden.