Georges St-Pierre will face UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping in his comeback fight at some point in 2017. The date has not been set but UFC President Dana White confirmed the booking on Wednesday. Having St-Pierre fight Bisping for the 185-pound title in his first fight back with the organization is a brilliant move, one of the best the UFC has made in years.
St-Pierre was arguably the top fighter in the world when he stepped away from mixed martial arts in 2013 after a split-decision victory over Johny Hedricks at UFC 167. He was on a 12-fight winning streak and had defended his UFC welterweight championship in 10 consecutive bouts. His two career losses had come against Matt Hughes in 2004 and via a shock knockout loss to Matt Serra in 2007, neither of which dropped his stock at all. St-Pierre’s sparkling 25-2 career record carries with it 13 wins via stoppage.
From a technical perspective, the 35-year-old Canadian might be the best to ever step inside the octagon. That said, he’s never had a fight at middleweight, where he’ll meet Bisping.
Bisping is the brash Brit who currently holds the title after knocking out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199. In his current five-fight win streak he has victories over C.B Dollaway, Thales Leites, Anderson Silva and topped Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in Manchester, England. Outside of Conor McGregor and the Diaz brothers, no one in the MMA world knows how to talk trash or hype a fight like Bisping.
St-Pierre’s typically subdued approach to fight promotion was the one issue the UFC was going to have leading up to his first fight back. By pairing him with Bisping, that problem has been eliminated. Bisping will talk to anyone, anywhere about the fight and hype himself up in the process. That, in turn, should jack St-Pierre up to be at his best for the matchup. In addition to that, putting St-Pierre in a title fight as his return bout will only further amp up the anticipation.
I have to give it to Dana White, this was a brilliant move. He’s not going to waste one of the few fights St-Pierre might have left in him on a tune-up. He’s throwing him in with the best middleweight in the world and a guy whose personality perfectly counters GSP’s. It’s a great booking and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.