UFC interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker wants to fight the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre in his backyard of Australia. But Bisping, the official champ, wants to return to his hometown of Manchester, England for his next title defense.
Bisping, who will defend his title against former welterweight kingpin St-Pierre this Saturday at UFC 217, beat Dan Henderson on home soil last year and the Brit wants to return to the Manchester Arena for what could be his last fight in the Octagon.
“Yeah, yeah [UFC 221 on February 11th is a quick turnaround]. I’m not awfully keen on fighting down in Australia,” Bisping told Luke Thomas last week, per Justin Golightly of BJPenn.com. “I mean, my wife’s Australian. I’ve fought in Australia three or four times already from one career. My next fight, if I have any say in it, is going to be in Manchester. Obviously, I don’t own the UFC, but If I beat Georges [St-Pierre] I’d like to think I still get a bit of say in it. I’d like that to be in Manchester, but we’ll see.”
Bisping also said that, due to Whittaker’s championship status it ‘makes sense’ for the UFC to host an event in his home country, but still believes his interim title is ‘bullsh-t’.
“Of course it makes sense, Robert [Whittaker] is the interim champion — which is bullsh-t, it’s not worth the leverage its printed on. There’s no need for that but whatever, they got to sell pay-per-views. Perth, Western Australia, just recently allowed the use of the cage, Octagon or whatever you want to call it, in Australia. So, it makes sense they’re going to put on an event down there. There’s a huge UFC following down there. It makes sense. It doesn’t necessarily make sense if I don’t win this fight [against Georges St-Pierre] though. So, we’ll see.”
Whittaker, who is on an impressive eight-fight win streak, captured the interim belt when he beat the feared Yoel Romero this past July at UFC 213. The New Zealand-born talent is currently nursing a leg injury but looks to be back in action early next year.
Bisping, 38, will take on St-Pierre in a headlining middleweight championship bout at UFC 217. The PPV extravaganza takes place on Saturday, November 4 at Madison Square Garden, New York.