Depsite saying “the ship has sailed” regarding the middleweight title bout just earlier this week, UFC president Dana White confirmed that champ Bisping will indeed defend his title against St-Pierre next. White revealed the news to BT Sport early Sunday morning after UFC 214 and later also announced the fight at the event’s post-fight press conference at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
White was considering matching welterweight champion Tyron Woodley up against St-Pierre, one of the greatest fighters of all time. That all changed, he said, after Woodley put on a lackluster showing against Demian Maia at UFC 214, defeating him by unanimous decision.
“That ship turned around and f—king sailed back. [I decided at] f—king round five (of Woodley-Maia),” White said at the presser.
“Michael Bisping will show up and fight,” he added.
“You ask fans if you want to see Woodley fight again. The answer would be a flat out no. Who wants to pay for Woodley to fight again?" he said. "You take no risks, you get no rewards."
Bisping vs. St-Pierre was initially announced earlier this year — they even hosted a press conference promoting the fight — but it was scrapped after St-Pierre revealed an eye injury that would delay the fight till late 2017. So instead, the UFC opted to pit Robert Whittaker against Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight title while Bisping was sidelined with an injury himself. Whittaker won the interim belt earlier this month and would have been next in line to fight Bisping had it not have been for a knee injury he suffered in the Romero bout that will put him out of action till 2018.
Per White, Whittaker will fight the Bisping vs. St-Pierre winner.
St-Pierre hasn’t fought since a welterweight title defense against Johny Hendricks in November 2013 after which he retired and vacated his belt. The Canadian great has contemplated a return numerous times since the Hendricks fight, but never 100-percent committed to one up until earlier this year.
A date has not been set for Bisping vs. St-Pierre, White said. It’s not known who Woodley will fight next, either.