Georges St-Pierre has repeatedly said that he’s contractually obligated to defend the middleweight title, and face Robert Whittaker, if he’s victorious at UFC 217. But, clearlythe man who currently holds the 185 crown, Michael Bisping, isn’t buying it.
When the UFC announced plans for Bisping – GSP earlier this year, one of the top questions regarding the match-up, was whether the latter intended to defend the belt. Especially since, St-Pierre said he wants to take the biggest fights possible in his comeback run (thus, all the talk about him fighting Conor McGregor).
But, after the bout was finalized, GSP reported that he’s contractually obligated to defend the belt, if he beats Bisping on November 4th.
“He keeps talking about, ‘It’s in the contract. It’s in the contract that I fight Whittaker,’ but he ain’t,” said Bisping. “He ain’t gonna fight Whittaker if it’s in the contract or not. I believe it is in the contract but all he’s gotta do is say, ‘I don’t fancy doing that and if you want me to fight again and maybe sell a lot of pay-per-views, it’s gotta be someone else.’ The UFC would fold, I’ve got to imagine.
“He wants to beat me, go back down to welterweight, beat [UFC welterweight champion] Tyron [Woodley], and then face [UFC lightweight champion] Conor [McGregor], beat all three, and then retire and make a ton of money. And the UFC probably wants that to happen. By that I don’t mean beat Conor, I mean beat me. Beat me, then either beat Woodley or go straight to Conor.”
Now, to say there’s no chance that GSP will defend the 185 belt, if he wins it, is taking it a wee bit too far. But, Bisping probably isn’t too far off base here.
If GSP does score a victory at UFC 217, and says he wants to fight either Woodley or McGregor next, it’s kind of difficult seeing the UFC taking a pass. With Woodley, he’d have a shot at reclaiming the welterweight crown, which is a very compelling storyline. With McGregor, well, you’d have a bout between one of the all-time greats, and one of the biggest names in combat sports. Both of the fights would move more tickets / PPV buys than GSP – Whittaker.