One of the worst-kept secrets in all of mixed martial arts finally became a reality on Wednesday: reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion Michael Bisping will, in fact, defend his crown against Georges St. Pierre.
The news was made official on tonight’s edition of “UFC Tonight” on FS1, a show in which “The Count” is a continual host.
“This is actually the third time I’ve been offered this fight, so the ship’s sailed twice,” Bisping said on the broadcast. “On this occasion, on the third occasion, it set off sailing but did a U-turn and it pulled up at New York City. I’ve got a chirpy little Englishman who’s going to fight Georges St. Pierre, Madison Square Garden, Nov. 4. It is official. Do not miss it. We’re taking over.”
The mega fight will headline UFC 217, which goes down Nov. 4 at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event will air first on UFC Fight Pass with the initial prelims, followed by the remainder of the prelims on FS1, to be succeeded by the main card on pay-per-view.
Bisping has been on a tear lately, having beaten C.B. Dollaway, Thales Leites and then former middleweight monarch Anderson Silva. The polarizing Brit then captured UFC gold by scoring a shocking first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming UFC champ. His first defense came at UFC 204 when he bested old rival Dan Henderson via unanimous decision last October. Bisping has been sidelined with a knee injury for most of 2017.
St. Pierre, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since 2013 when he defended his UFC welterweight crown for the ninth consecutive time when he toppled Johny Hendricks on points at UFC 167. Regarded as the greatest welterweight of all-time, “Rush” has been coy about returning to combat ever since he abruptly retired shortly after beating “Bigg Rigg.”