If Georges St. Pierre fights again in the UFC, it will be at 185 pounds against Robert Whittaker.
The newly-crowned middleweight king revealed during a media call on Thursday that he is contractually obligated to defend his title against Whittaker, the interim 185-pound titlist. That, at least in theory, means “Rush” won’t be making a return to 170 pounds in the near future.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that St. Pierre fights again, period.
“We’ll see what I want to do and where my head is. I have no intention of holding onto the belt and freezing the division. That’s not what I want to do,” St. Pierre said during a media call. “Robert Whittaker is in my contract. If I want to fight again, it has to be against Robert Whittaker at 185 [pounds]. That’s in my contract. I cannot, for example, go fight Tyron Woodley or go fight another guy.”
St. Pierre defeated Michael Bisping via third-round rear-naked choke to claim middleweight gold in the UFC 217 headliner. Shortly before the fight-ending submission, the Tristar Gym product took Bisping down and was bloodied by numerous elbows thrown by the Englishman from the bottom. St. Pierre did not attend the post-fight press conference, as he was transported to a hospital after the bout.
As it turns out, one of those elbows did more than just bust St. Pierre open — it also injured his neck when it connected with the back of his head.
“It looked very insignificant when it happened. It wasn’t the strength of the hit. It was more the precision of it. It’s not his fault. We’re not allowed to hit there, but it was just in the heat of the fight, and it’s normal,” St. Pierre said.
“My neck was so inflamed, when I was on the floor, I had a hard time posturing up because it was hurting very bad. It felt like I couldn’t contract my head to posture up. After the fight when I cooled down, it was terrible. It was like my neck couldn’t move. Now it’s still sore, but it got a lot better. I got treatment on it, so I’ll be back 100 percent.”
Whether that’s against Whittaker at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia, on Feb. 10 remains to be seen. St. Pierre said for now he plans to take a vacation and his representative will meet with UFC President Dana White. St. Pierre was not able to offer any details beyond that.
“There’s going to be news about it in the next few weeks, but I don’t plan to hold the title and not defend it,” he said.