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UFC 217 fight card primer: Michael Bisping vs. Georges St. Pierre

UFC 217 is headlined by the return of one of the all time greats, as Georges St. Pierre takes on Michael Bisping. Get the details here.

MMA: UFC 209-Weigh Ins Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday, UFC 217 takes us back to Madison Square Garden for a stacked card. Headlining is an epic Middleweight title fight pitting champion Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA; 20-7 UFC) against Georges St. Pierre (25-2 MMA; 20-2 UFC). The UFC rankings have Bisping as the #13 pound for pound fighter, while the returning GSP is understandably unranked. UFC 217: Bisping vs. St. Pierre airs live from MSG this Saturday night, November 4. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

Bisping vs. St-Pierre is being billed as a legends dream match, but it feels like a slightly awkward label for this particular pairing. There’s no doubt that GSP is a legend, and his return is a big deal. But he’s moving up in weight to a new division to challenge a kind of controversial champ. It’s a weird match-up. Still, it’s one of the sport’s true greats, coming back in an attempt to become just the 4th man in history to win the sport’s top prize in a second weight class. And it’s happening as the capper to a huge card.

How do these two stack up?

Bisping: 38 years old | 6’1" | 75.5" reach
St. Pierre: 36 years old | 5’10" | 76" reach

What have these two done recently?

Bisping: W - Dan Henderson (UD) | W - Luke Rockhold (KO) | W - Anderson Silva (UD)
St. Pierre: W - Johny Hendricks (SD) | W - Nick Diaz (UD) | W - Carlos Condit (UD)

How did these two get here?

For years, Michael Bisping talked about winning the Middleweight title as his destiny. He came close to a shot a few times, but always lost. Then he went on a 3-4 skid and it seemed his contender days were cashed. And then, out of nowhere, he knocked out Luke Rockhold and became the champ. He’s been widely criticized in some circles for his reign, which now consists of the then 46 year old Dan Henderson and the returning GSP, instead of any young top 5 contenders. But he’s definitely getting whatever he can out of this run. Amazing, hard to believe fact: if he wins this, he will hold career wins over Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. Consider that.

GSP is the greatest Welterweight of all time, and if you wanted to argue that he was the greatest of all time PERIOD, I would entertain that argument. At his height, his ability to mix striking and wrestling in the perfect gameplan was unparalleled. He defended the UFC title 9 times, then retired as champion in 2013. His final fight (until now) came against Johny Hendricks, and was a tough affair that some felt Hendricks won. In the four years since, St-Pierre has been acting and, according to him, improving as a martial artist. We shall see.

Why should you care?

It’s Georges St-Pierre coming back, maybe to win a title in a second weight class. This is must watch.