Perhaps the biggest loser in the wake of the announcement that Michael Bisping would defend his title against Georges St. Pierre was the middleweight division’s true No. 1 contender.
According to majority opinion, as well as the UFC.com rankings, Yoel Romero is the man in that position. But after St. Pierre was able to come to terms on a new contract with the Las Vegas-based promotion, Romero was left in limbo.
“I hope he doesn’t kill me,” UFC President Dana White joked at a press conference to promote St. Pierre vs. Bisping on Friday. “We’re gonna take care of him. We’ll obviously take car of Yoel. Georges is coming back. It’s not like Georges has a lot of time. Georges wanted this fight, Mike wanted this fight. I’m sure the fans want to see this fight, so we did it. I’ll take care of Yoel.”
Before St. Pierre returned to the fold, Bisping’s plans were to face Romero sometime in the spring after he recovered from a minor knee surgery. “The Count” insists that he isn’t ducking Romero, and he plans on making a quick turnaround to face “The Soldier of God” if things go as planned against St. Pierre.
“If he’s so good, then just keep beating people. Because I’ll tell you what, Georges doesn’t have a style to hurt me. I just sent a text message to Dana right now, I said Georges will not hurt me,” Bisping said. “In six weeks after this fight, I’ll fight Yoel Romero.
“So Yoel, sit on the f—-ing stool, do whatever you want to do, s—t your pants, whatever it may be. I’ll be here.”
At the moment, it isn’t clear when Bisping and St. Pierre will square off in the Octagon, but White said the ideal scenario would be for the matchup to go down during International Fight Week in July. That date is far from set in stone, however.
As someone who needed 25 UFC bouts before receiving his first title shot, Bisping can sympathize with Romero’s situation.
“Yeah absolutely. He’s an amazing fighter. It’s as simple as that. He’s a physical specimen. He’s a great wrestler. He’s got knockout power. Of course. He is the rightful No. 1 contender,” Bisping said. “I don’t make the fights. I accept fights. Simple as that. Georges doesn’t and that’s the difference. When has Dana ever called me and I’ve turned a fight down? Never. So Yoel will get it next. Because I will beat Georges. Everybody knows that.”