Despite signing a contract stating he would, GSP might not ever defend the UFC middleweight championship…
The days of champions defending their titles appears to be ending. Despite signing a contract before his UFC 217 bout stating he would defend the middleweight championship if he won it, GSP facing Robert Whittaker seems unlikely to occur.
After the conclusion of UFC 217, Dana White told media there was only one fight for GSP next and that is against Robert Whittaker. GSP didn’t sound so certain, however, and now the more that comes out the more it seems GSP will never fight at 185lbs again.
According to legendary coach, Freddie Roach, who cornered GSP on Saturday, GSP is unlikely to ever defend the UFC middleweight championship. GSP himself stated in his post-fight interview that he took the fight at middleweight as a challenge to himself but indicated the middleweight division might not be the correct weight class for him.
Who Does GSP Fight Next?
Similiar to Conor McGregor, there is no shortage of fighters lining up to take on George St. Pierre. As one of the few proven draws in MMA history, many top fighters want the sizeable paycheque that goes along with a GSP fight.
IF GSP is not to face Robert Whittaker next, a likely next opponent might be current UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. GSP did not technically lose the welterweight championship before taking a sabbatical, as much as many people felt Johny Hendricks defeated him. Woodley versus GSP would finally give Woodley that money fight he’s been calling for ever since defeating Robbie Lawler for the title.
Another possible next opponent for GSP is Conor McGregor. Although the UFC currently sounds as though they are done putting together “money fights”, you have to wonder if they have the willpower to turn away the huge PPV payday that would come with this mega fight.
Robert Whittaker vs. Georges St. Pierre
Everything Dana White said following UFC 217, indicated that the next bout to make is George St. Pierre versus Robert Whittaker. It’s the same rationale Dana uses when talking about Conor’s next fight being with Tony Ferguson. You’ve got a champion and an interim champion and you need to unify the belts.
Here’s what Robert Whittaker had to say regarding the potential match-up:
“I was a massive fan of him when I was younger — and when I was at welterweight, as well. Every welterweight in the world aspired to become something like him. If I got the privilege of fighting him? Man, dream come true.”
If the fight can’t be made in time for UFC 221 in Australia, Whittaker had this to say:
“I’m happy to wait,” he said “Fighting a legend like that is worth the time. My wants have to go on the back seat a bit for him. He’s a living legend, and in respect, I’ll do that. But if he’s going to hang around at middleweight we’ll touch gloves eventually. I’m confident.”
Freddie Roach Comments on GSP Defending Middleweight Championship
GSP’s cornerman for UFC 217, Freddie Roach, had this to say regarding GSP staying at middleweight and defending the title.
I am not sure that’s his best weight division or if we will fight there again. We will see where it goes. The weight got to him, he’s not used to carrying that much weight and it fatigued him quicker than usual,” added Roach. “Again, we will work it all out and get together with the whole team and discuss what the next best move is for Georges.”
By the sounds of it, GSP was not happy with how he felt going up in weight. The problem, however, is that he signed a contract with the UFC stating he would defend the title if he won it.
Unfortunately, such contracts don’t actually guarantee anything. They do set a financial penalty should the guarantee not be lived up to, however. GSP can most likely afford whatever financial penalty was agreed upon.
Roach continued to talk about GSP’s performance at 185lbs:
“I was a little concerned (with his stamina). It was obviously a fast-paced fight, and he did box very well in the first round and I was very happy with it. Bisping is a very tough opponent, he came back in the second round,” he stated.
“He countered our right hand with his right hand, so that’s where I saw the left hook would work because he is a little bit lazy bringing it back.”