At some points during Friday’s press conference to promote their future championship bout, Michael Bisping seemed to take great pleasure in taunting Georges St. Pierre about the difference in size between the two men.
After an indefinite absence that spanned more than three years, St. Pierre, the longtime welterweight king, will move up to 185 pounds to challenge for Bisping’s belt later this year. “Rush” never competed at middleweight during his first UFC tenure, although a superfight with then 185-poun champion Anderson Silva was teased on several occasions.
Still, despite the challenge that facing a larger opponent presents, St. Pierre believes that the fight with Bisping made the most sense for his Octagon return.
“I’m always the same weight. I walk around between 185-190. Some 155ers are bigger than me. I’m an averaged sized welterweight. It’s a huge task,” St. Pierre said. “Fighting is like the stock market. Some guys, their stock is high and sometimes their stock is low. It’s a question of timing. When I fought at welterweight I had a crazy lineup waiting for me. I had injuries, I blew out my ACL back then and they were waiting for me.
“Right now I don’t hold the belt, nobody is waiting for me. I can do whatever I want. I wanted to make a big boom in my comeback. It’s like the stock market and right now the guy who has the highest stock is Michael Bisping. It was the perfect timing for me to do it.”
When pressed, St. Pierre would not commit to a single weight class for future UFC bouts after Bisping. While the Tristar Gym member admitted to have a long-term plan, he had no desire to reveal its specifics on Friday.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen. We don’t know who’s up and down, it fluctuates so fast,” he said. “I have a general long-term goal and a general direction where I want to go. I’m [nearly] 36 years old. I don’t have a lot of fights left. I want to make it as big as possible. Everything I’m gonna do I want to do the biggest fights possible.”
St. Pierre doesn’t expect to be able to gain much in terms of size in the months leading up to his showdown with Bisping.
“I’m gonna make some adjustments. Try to gain some weight. Realistically speaking, I won’t be able to get so much bigger,” St. Pierre said. “I’m going to try to put on some muscle mass, prepare efficiently, come out and do my job.”
When St. Pierre vacated his welterweight title in 2013, he had won 12 consecutive fights and was regarded by many as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. He will be 36 years old by the time he faces Bisping, however, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether he can recapture his previous form.
“I’m not gonna be the old GSP. If I come back as the same Georges St. Pierre as I used to be when I was very successful, I’m going to have a very bad night the night of the fight,’ he said. “If I come back it’s because my trainers and my training partners are convinced I’m a better version than I was when I used to compete. I believe I’ve reached the perfect peak of athleticism, knowledge and wisdom as a fighter, and I’m going to prove it to everyone.”