Georges St-PierreJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
April 17, 2017
Georges St-Pierre just gave Michael Bisping some serious side-eye.
The greatest welterweight in MMA history, who recently announced he would return from a three-plus-year hiatus some time this year to fight for Bisping’s UFC middleweight title, said in a recent interview that this is the perfect time to move up a weight class.
“[The problem is] not to fight at 185; the problem is when you train, you need to train with bigger guys, and in order to train with bigger guys, it has more chance to have injuries,” St-Pierre recently said in a video interview with RT Sport (h/t MMA Fighting). “So that’s the thing. But now is the perfect opportunity for me to do it. I had some time off. I took some time to gain some weight. I’m still putting on some weight.”
And what about the champion? He said:
Of course Michael Bisping will be bigger than me, but I believe that will be the only advantage that he will have—his size. Technically, tactically, athletically, I have all the edges on him. It doesn’t matter if he’s taller and bigger than me. The only difference that it’s gonna make is when he hits the floor, it’s gonna make a bigger boom.
Taken together, it’s not terribly hard to infer that St-Pierre saw in Bisping a plum opportunity to pad his resume. The 35-year-old St-Pierre (25-2) is already the best welterweight of all time in the eyes of many observers, and said after announcing his comeback in March that he was fighting again mainly to “cement my legacy.”
Michael BispingJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
It’s not a major logical leap to presume that sentiment accurate. The 38-year-old Bisping (30-7) is a great fighter who has had a remarkably long UFC career, but no one would argue that he is in his prime. He arguably took a fairly easy path to the title.
After defeating a then-40-year-old Anderson Silva last February, Bisping shocked champ Luke Rockhold in June with a first-round knockout. In his first and only title defense to date, Bisping defeated a 45-year-old Dan Henderson in front of his hometown fans in Manchester, England. Henderson retired after the fight.
Outside of Rockhold, Bisping has never faced anyone currently ranked in the division’s official Top Five. That includes top challengers Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza, both of whom have repeatedly called for a title shot (although Souza’s claim is much weaker after his Saturday loss to Robert Whittaker).