Michael Bisping will put his middleweight title on the line later this year against arguably one of the greatest fighters of all time when Georges St-Pierre returns to the UFC after more than three years away.
St-Pierre negotiated his comeback just recently and Bisping was at the top of his list of potential opponents as he looks to join a very exclusive list of fighters who have been two division champions in the UFC.
Of course, St-Pierre getting the shot at the title against Bisping also means that No. 1 ranked contender Yoel Romero will get benched and either have to take another fight or sit on the sidelines to await the winner.
Bisping responded to criticism that he’s somehow ducking Romero by taking a fight with St-Pierre by putting the same offer on the table for any of the other top middleweights in the world.
“I know there’s people out there who are going to criticize this,” Bisping said about the fight on “UFC Tonight”. “Saying that I should fight the No. 1 contender, guys like Yoel Romero, and they’re absolutely right but I’ll put this question to you right now. If you are Yoel Romero or Luke Rockhold or ‘Jacare’ [Souza] or any of these guys, if you were offered a fight with GSP, I know for a fact that you’re going to take that fight so why shouldn’t I do the same?
“I deserve this payday. I deserve this fight. Not only to do with the payday, I want this fight for my legacy. I’ve beat Dan Henderson. I’ve beat Anderson Silva. Georges St-Pierre is also another legend that I want to add to my resume.”
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The fight between Bisping and St-Pierre nearly came together last year when former champion was close to a deal to return in December in his home country of Canada. Unfortunately, St-Pierre couldn’t come to terms with the UFC and Bisping ended up filming a role in “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” alongside Vin Diesel and then had knee surgery to repair some minor damage that kept him out of action at the start of 2017.
When St-Pierre finally put pen to paper on a new deal to return to the UFC just recently, Bisping’s name once again rocketed to the top of his wishlist and now the fight will take place later this year.
“I get a phone call a week ago from Dana White saying ‘listen, the fight’s back on the table, Georges wants to fight you’. It’s a big fight. Now of course I said yes,” Bisping said. “Georges St-Pierre’s a legendary fighter. He’s had one of the best career if not the best careers in the history of the sport. He was a dominant welterweight champion for a long, long time. Fought so many people, beat so many people and he’s one of the biggest proven pay-per-view draws that the company’s ever seen so of course taking this fight was an absolute no brainer.”
As of now, the UFC hasn’t confirmed a date or location for the fight but Bisping is already starting to put together his training camp to prepare for the showdown with the former welterweight champion.
Bisping also knows that St-Pierre could have picked virtually anybody on the UFC roster for his return to action but ultimately the Canadian superstar chose him.
“He chose me because he thinks he can beat me,” Bisping said about St-Pierre. “Me and Georges trained together a long time ago, 11 years ago and Georges out wrestled me. Now back then I was a kickboxer from England. I didn’t know a double leg [takedown] from a double decker bus. Every time we trained, he would take me down and he thinks I’m still that guy.
“He thinks I’m an easy opponent, an easy pick. He’s picked me to come back out of retirement, moving up a weight class, it’s almost like he’s got nothing to lose but if he moves up a weight class, beats me, he becomes a legend.”
Whatever the reason was behind the matchup, Bisping is awfully happy that St-Pierre picked him because this will now give the veteran British middleweight a chance to add another legend to his resume go along with future Hall of Famers like Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Georges. As I just mentioned, I’ve known him for a long time. For me, beating Georges, beating Anderson Silva, beating Dan Henderson, beating Luke Rockhold, beating all these great guys for me it really just puts an exclamation mark on my career,” Bisping said. “I mean Georges St-Pierre is a legend and for good reason and if I go out there, I beat him, it looks great on my resume, looks great on my career and when I’m done, when I’m retired, I’ll be a happy man.”