Michael Bisping apparently isn’t willing to wait too long for a big money showdown with the returning Georges St. Pierre.
During a press conference earlier this month to announce the middleweight championship bout between Bisping and St. Pierre, UFC President Dana White admitted that he was hoping to get the bout booked for the July 8 pay-per-view event during International Fight Week. Of course, that was far from set in stone, as White pointed out that St. Pierre must clear multiple hurdles to be ready, including making himself available during a four-month window for the USADA drug testing pool.
“July 8 in Las Vegas, International Fight Week, is the date and the event that we are targeting, but [UFC President] Dana (White) wouldn’t confirm the date at the press conference,” Bisping said on his "Believe You Me” podcast. “But then I saw Dana a couple of weeks later while I was working at FOX and Dana said, ‘Yeah we’re still hoping for July 8.’
However, Bisping said that a recent text message exchange with a coach of St. Pierre’s revealed that the ex-welterweight champion might have other plans.
“…Long story short, it looks like ‘GSP’ is trying to push for a later date. I heard rumors of that a while ago from [MMAFighting.com’s] Ariel Helwani. I heard that they wanted September or October, and that’s what the UFC told me, as well.”
Bisping made his first 185-pound title defense at UFC 204 on Oct. 8, when he took a five-round verdict over longtime rival Dan Henderson in Manchester. After that, “The Count” underwent minor knee surgery at the beginning of 2017 and also was busy filming for a role in the action film “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.” The layoff has been long enough for the champion, and he has little interest in waiting for St. Pierre if “Rush” can’t make it to the Octagon this summer.
“I’m just throwing it out there right now: If he wants to wait until September or October, then he can go find himself another opponent, because I call the shots,” Bisping said. “Without sounding like an asshole, it’s my belt. I’m the champion and I’m not willing to sit around until September or October.
“This fight was discussed in January. A fight camp only takes eight weeks or six weeks. Fighting in September or October is ridiculous. July 8 is the date. I will be a little bit flexible and maybe go past that a little bit, but I want to fight at International Fight Week, July 8. So Georges St-Pierre, get it together. Stop doing your gymnastics, stop doing your f—-ing backflips and whatever it is and let’s do this.”
Yoel Romero, the middleweight division’s true No. 1 contender, could be the big winner if St. Pierre isn’t ready by the target date. While Bisping has already claimed that he would face Romero six weeks after the proposed showdown with St. Pierre, he sounds more than willing to move “Soldier of God” to the front of the line.
“If [St. Pierre’s] not ready, then I guess Yoel Romero gets his title shot,” Bisping said. “I’m not afraid of Yoel Romero. If GSP wants to fight, of course – there’s a great story there…But I’m not willing to sit around, and he doesn’t get to call the shots. It’s my belt and I’m not some little asshole waiting in the wings for my title shot. I’ve got the belt and I want to fight. I’m in my prime. I don’t want to sit around for a year. If we don’t fight until September or October, that would be a year and I’m not willing to wait a year for Georges St-Pierre.”