By logic, UFC middleweight titleholder Michael Bisping should be facing interim champion Robert Whittaker for his next title defense. Instead, he is scheduled to fight Georges St-Pierre, who never fought at middleweight, and is coming off a four-year hiatus.
Bisping and St-Pierre will be headlining UFC 217 this November, much to the dismay of fighters such as Luke Rockhold, among others. “The Count” had also received criticisms that he may very well have avoided fighting the division’s number one contender by going for St-Pierre, instead. But for these condemnations, Bisping had an answer.
“There’s a lot of people out there that like to talk sh-t and say that, ‘He’s dodging the No. 1 contender,’ and all of this,” Bisping said on his recent MMA Hour interview (via MMA Weekly). “(But) prior to Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero fighting (at UFC 213), I had a quick meeting with Dana White in the backroom of the MGM, or wherever the f--k, the T-Mobile Arena, and I agreed to coach The Ultimate Fighter against whoever won that fight. So in essence, I accepted a fight with Yoel and I accepted a fight with Robert Whittaker.”
“I just want to throw that out there for all those people out there who like to talk smack. And it was Robert Whittaker that said he needed some time, he didn’t want to fight. Obviously a fight with Yoel doesn’t make sense because Yoel just lost.”
Whittaker did turn down the offer to coach against Bisping on the upcoming Ultimate Fighter season. Bisping says this decision had led to the St-Pierre fight being stabilized and eventually made final.
“But it’s funny how things happen, because that actually gave the GSP thing an ability to happen,” Bisping said. “Because (Romero vs. Whittaker) happened on a Saturday, we were supposed to start coaching The Ultimate Fighter on the Tuesday. So, if Whittaker hadn’t turned it down, the fight (with St-Pierre) never would’ve happened.”
UFC 217 happens on November 4th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.