Michael Bisping can see the positives and the negatives of Georges St. Pierre’s decision to vacate the UFC middleweight title.
“I’m gonna be brutally honest here, it’s a double-edged sword,” Bisping said on his ”Believe You Me” podcast. “It’s a good thing and a bad thing. By the way, Dana White threw me under the bus when he first found out. He wasn’t happy with Georges and he said, ‘Yeah, well he cherry-picked Bisping.’ That doesn’t do me any favors. He didn’t cherry-pick me, but I did say that. I said Georges wanted to fight me because he thought I was an easy fight and this and that, and he got the win, and then he vacated the belt. Now he vacated the belt because apparently he had to go to the hospital after our fight and he thought he was gonna be paralyzed and he had a bad neck and all this type of stuff. I don’t know. He just doesn’t fancy doing it again.
“In one respect, it’s good for me because -- as an MMA fighter, as a boxer, whatever it is -- if somebody beats you, you never want them to lose again because if they get beat, then the person that beat them, it has a negative impact on you. Like, ‘Oh, they could have beaten me as well.’ So he’s never going to fight at 185 again, that’s good,” Bisping continued. “I’m the only person at 185 he ever beat, nobody at 185 is ever gonna beat him. So cheers Georges, thanks for that. But at the same time, it looks like a bit of a bitch move, you know what I mean? So there’s pluses and negatives.”
St. Pierre returned from a four-year hiatus at UFC 217 to defeat Bisping via third-round submission at Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 4. The Canadian initially said he was contractually obligated to defend the 185-pound belt but after health concerns due to colitis, announced he was going to vacate the championship.
If St. Pierre does return, it appears likely that it will be at 170 pounds. However, that is far from a given, although Tristar Gym trainer Firas Zahabi said that GSP would come back for a ”big, exciting fight” while referencing a potential showdown with Conor McGregor.
Bisping wouldn’t be surprised if St. Pierre says away for good.
“Remember he said in the press conferences, he said if he lost he was never gonna try again and he was gonna retire,” Bisping said. “I don’t know anything about Georges’ bank account but I’m assuming it’s very swollen, it’s got plenty of money in there. So he came back, he got another belt, made history, made a ton of money, made more than me, the prick, and good for him. It’s actually really smart. Why should he carry on fighting? Legacy is more important and he’s got a great legacy there. So from a business standpoint, it’s actually a really smart move. From the UFC’s perspective, of course it’s frustrating. It’s annoying. Opens the doors for Whittaker versus Rockhold but it’s annoying because remember, GSP did that after the Johny Hendricks fight. He didn’t defend the belt, walked away, Dana was pissed then, and now he’s doing the same thing now.”
After St. Pierre officially stepped aside, Whittaker, the former interim champion, was installed by the UFC as the undisputed 185-pound titlist. “Bobby Knuckles” will defend the belt against Luke Rockhold in the UFC 221 headliner in Perth, Australia on Feb. 10. Bisping has no issues with the promotion’s matchmaking at the top of the division now that he is out of the title picture. “The Count” is targeting a retirement bout at the UFC’s Fight Night event in London on March 17.
“May the best man win that fight,” Bisping said. “By the way, I’ve got my money on Robert Whittaker to win that fight.”