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UFC 217’s Michael Bisping on Robert Whittaker fight: ‘I owe it to everybody’

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Michael Bisping said he will probably defend his UFC middleweight title against interim champ Robert Whittaker should he get past Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 this Saturday.

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Michael Bisping will probably fight Robert Whittaker should he get past Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, he said.

The UFC middleweight champion, who defends his title for the second time at Madison Square Garden in New York City this weekend, said at the event’s pre-fight press conference Thursday that a bout against interim champ Whittaker is likely next if he walks away the champ on Saturday.

“I’m gonna wipe Georges out and then I’ll beat up Robert Whittaker. I guess I gotta do that,” Bisping said. “I owe it to everybody.”

After the St-Pierre fight was initially cancelled earlier this year, Bisping was targeted to fight the winner of Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero. But Whittaker, who beat Romero by decision, did not come out of that fight unscathed; he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him until early 2018, giving Bisping time to fight St-Pierre after all.

Bisping said earlier this week he did not want to defend the belt in Perth, Australia — where the UFC is headed for UFC 221 in February. His preference is still to fight Whittaker in his home country, he said, but he sounded a little more open to traveling down under at the presser.

“I fought in Australia three times. Robert Whittaker has never fought in England,” he said. “You see which way I’m leaning there. But I know [UFC president Dana White] just booked Perth, so...”

White said that there are currently no plans to have the winner of Bisping vs. St-Pierre defend his title against Whittaker on that Perth pay-per-view card.

“You can’t plan for that stuff. You gotta see how the fight goes, see who wins, see how they come out,” White said. “There’s no plan now.”

But White added that Bisping would be interested in the quick turnaround.

“He would love to,” White butted in after a reporter asked Bisping whether he’d be willing to fight so soon after UFC 217.