Georges St-Pierre may be the UFC’s middleweight champion now, but Luke Rockhold is setting his sites on a showdown with who he says it the real champ, Robert Whittaker.
Leading up to UFC 217, Rockhold wasn’t shy about the fact he wasn’t a fan of the Michael Bisping – GSP bout. Not only that, the former middleweight champ called on St-Pierre to withdraw from the contest, since according to Rockhold, he was going to get “crushed”.
Well, although that didn’t happen, Rockhold doesn’t believe St-Pierre intends to stick around at 185, and face the interim champ, Whittaker. As a result, the outspoken fighter recently said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I’m ready to go and I know Whittaker is ready to go. Obviously, he sees GSP and he wants his payday but is he gonna get that? How long is he gonna drag his feet for? I’m ready to move forward with the division and get things going.
“I’ve talked about [fighting Whittaker at UFC Perth] with the UFC and it is potentially on the table but I’m not going out there to fight for the interim title. GSP needs to figure it out. He needs to move on, get out, and really, Robert Whittaker is the real champion. Bisping lost that title, in my eyes, a long time ago when he decided to fight guys outside the top ten, and welterweights for that matter. He earned it. He got the title but Whittaker’s been the man for the last year. He’s fought Jacare, he’s fought Yoel, he’s fought the top contenders and that’s what it takes to be the champion. In my eyes, Whittaker’s the champ. So I’ll be ready to go to Perth, it’s just a matter of how this whole thing plays out.”
It remains to be seen what St-Pierre elects to do. But, the consensus seems to be, as Rockhold alluded to, that GSP won’t stay at 185. If he proposes another bout, an even bigger one than facing Whittaker, the UFC will likely oblige.
If that happens, who would be next for Whittaker? Since Rockhold has never faced him, he could very well be the one who’s tapped for the title shot.
UFC 221 will take place on February 11th in Perth, Australia. The promotion’s announced it’s a pay-per-view event, so a championship fight could very well be assigned to the card.