Georges St-Pierre is back in the UFC and is once again a champion - but this time it's at 185 pounds.
"Rush" retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition four years ago after taking home a controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks to defend his welterweight title. He vacated the belt before walking away from the sport, allowing the new breed to usher in and take control of the throne.
Now St-Pierre has signed back on with the UFC and made his return this past weekend against Michael Bisping, making his middleweight debut in attempt to challenge for the division's title.
After a fairly back-and-forth contest St-Pierre landed a huge shot that dropped "The Count," allowing him to sink in a rear-naked choke to render Bisping unconscious - picking up the win and the title. Currently an interim champion looms at middleweight by the name of Robert Whittaker, who is one of the most feared strikers in the UFC.
Luke Rockhold, a former UFC middleweight champion, recently spoke to Submission Radio, and noted that he believes St-Pierre is avoiding a fight with the interim champ (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Unfortunately it sounds like we have a hold up and it’s gonna take some time to iron out what’s next. . . I know [St-Pierre] is contractually obligated to defend his belt but as we all heard on the mic, he’s backtracking and he’s trying to find his way out, seemingly. . .
“I think it’s ridiculous if they were to let him hold onto it and not pull that. Let him relinquish that and go down to fight Tyron like it sounds like he wants to do. I think they should just get back to what made this company what it is.
"You go too far down the wrong trail and there’s no turning back. You go too far into Conor McGregor land and you get that fight going and the whole thing is a mess.
"They need to just put the best against the best in each division and stop jumping around.
“I’m ready to go and I know Whittaker is ready to go. Obviously, he sees GSP and he wants his payday but is he gonna get that? How long is he gonna drag his feet for? I’m ready to move forward with the division and get things going.
“I’ve talked about [fighting Whittaker at UFC Perth] with the UFC and it is potentially on the table but I’m not going out there to fight for the interim title. GSP needs to figure it out. He needs to move on, get out, and really, Robert Whittaker is the real champion.
"Bisping lost that title, in my eyes, a long time ago when he decided to fight guys outside the top ten, and welterweights for that matter. He earned it. He got the title but Whittaker’s been the man for the last year.
"He’s fought Jacare, he’s fought Yoel, he’s fought the top contenders and that’s what it takes to be the champion. In my eyes,Whittaker’s the champ. So I’ll be ready to go to Perth, it’s just a matter of how this whole thing plays out.
“I know Whittaker obviously wants that fight [with St-Pierre], as he should, but I don’t think he’s gonna get it. I’m more than willing to move on and take him on in Perth.
"I love Australia and the kids a stud and I’d be honored to fight him.
“If [the UFC] wait, obviously everyone knows what I want: it’s Bisping and if it’s his last fight and he’s going to London, the man says he didn’t get lucky, the man says he’s better than me, he’s been running his mouth forever, then put your money where your mouth is.
"I’ll go show up on your front doorstep, and I’ll take your head off in London. It would be my pleasure. Step up.
“If he’s gonna go fight again, there’s no one else he should fight. If he’s gonna go step into the cage again, there’s no one else he should fight right now. It’s me and him, that’s what it should be.
"If he’s gonna run away like most of us expect him to do, I think it’s a very telling situation. But if you’re gonna fight again you better damn well believe I should be the guy.
“I want to see what the f**k happens. GSP needs to make up his mind and the UFC needs to make up their minds. We’ll see what happens. . .
"I think you can expect something announced here shortly. I would imagine they’re pretty eager to figure this thing out.”
What are your thoughts on Rockhold's comments in which he says that GSP is avoiding a fight with Whittaker? Do you think that the Canadian will defend his title against Whittaker? Or will he simply drop back down to welterweight and take on a new challenger? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
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