According to UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, the record of Georges St-Pierre may not look as impressive under close inspection
The Canadian welterweight legend retired in 2013 following a UFC career which saw him win the 170-pound title twice and solidify himself as one of the greatest Mixed Martial Artists of all time.
Bisping, who not only welcomes “GSP” back to the promotion but will face off against the 36-year-old in his first fight at middleweight, opted to break his opponent’s achievements down instead of building them off ahead of their bout. Both men will go head to head on the main bill of the highly anticipated UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden next month and have already got stuck into each other in the press conferences and media calls to date.
“He’s fought a lot of the same people over that period,” Bisping commented on St-Pierre’s successful run as champion. “He’s fought them multiple times. And if you go through the opponents. I mean, BJ Penn, who he fought twice or three times, he’s a featherweight, right? Johny Hendricks, I mean look at Johny Hendricks these days. But still.
“Nick Diaz is a welterweight. Carlos Condit, oh, that’s a good win. Josh Koscheck, Dan Hardy, Thiago Alves — lightweight. BJ Penn — featherweight. Matt Serra — lightweight. These are all smaller guys.”
Bisping also (somewhat surprisingly) suggested that the former welterweight would come in stronger than him in their bout. Bisping was initially a light heavyweight in his MMA career and believes that being a ‘naturally’ larger man will play a part in how the fight pans out:
“He always had that strength and size advantage,” Bisping said. “Now, he’ll probably be stronger than me in this fight, I don’t doubt it. Because he lifts a lot of weights and he’s doing his amino acids every morning and this and that. He’s a real athlete. But I’m a bigger natural guy and he’s not gonna have that advantage. So yeah, he’s great and he’s beaten a lot of competition. But he’s had competition that has been suited toward him size-wise and skill-wise. This is a different matter.”
“He can be as big as he wants,” Bisping said. “He’s still gonna be the smallest little sh*t that I’ve ever faced.”
Bisping also confirmed this week that he would not be retiring after his bout with St-Pierre after all, and would look to continue fighting, despite the result:
“I did say in the buildup that this could be my last fight,” Bisping said. “My wife and some people close to me – you know I’ve done this forever. I’ve been a fighter ever since I was a kid, I’ve been involved with martial arts and professional combat sports my entire life and I’m almost 40 now. You can’t do it forever and I am the champ so I’ve accomplished what I want to accomplish.
“That said though, I’ve enjoyed this training camp. I’ve enjoyed the process. I’ve enjoyed being a little bit out of shape and now going to the peak of physical fitness. It’s a great process. It feels good knocking people out in sparring. I live for this s**t. So yeah, there will definitely be at least one more fight and who knows? Maybe more after that. I don’t know though.”
Bisping has also not relented in expressing his opinion that Georges St-Pierre should have remained retired:
“Georges should have stayed retired, he would have forever been a legend but he didn’t, he f**ked it up,” Bisping said. “He’s come out of retirement and he’s fallen into the trap that everyone falls into: He thinks he can beat me.”
As for the future, “The Count” believes that there is more left in the tank and hopes to push forward and further what has been an impressive two years in his career:
“I don’t really try and think about those things too much (the future and retirement), I don’t try and think about what I’ve accomplished and whatnot, but if I sit back and think about it, yeah, I’ve always been proud to represent England,” Bisping said. “Being the first world champion from Britain, that’s something I’m very proud of. The UK MMA scene is booming, we have tremendous fighting talent, and we have a solid presence now. On the more localized UFC shows, we see great talent on display all the time and it’s just going to get better and better.”