Dana White fires back at criticism over Georges St-Pierre getting a middleweight title shot
When Georges St-Pierre walked away from the UFC in 2013, he did so as the nine-time defending welterweight champion and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
Of course in the four years St-Pierre has been gone, new stars have arrived and the UFC looks like a much different place than the one he left, but that doesn’t negate his Hall of Fame worthy accomplishments.
That’s why UFC president Dana White says he was happy to give St-Pierre a shot at middleweight champion Michael Bisping in his return to action after nearly four years away regardless that he has never competed in the division before now.
White has definitely heard the chorus of complaints from fighters in the middleweight division who weren’t happy that St-Pierre got a title shot on his first day back in the UFC. Still, White says to those fighters and anyone else who might have a problem with the UFC 217 main event that St-Pierre earned his shot by putting together a career that was nearly untouchable when he left the sport and now he’s just picking up where he left off.
“The guys that are out there right now — Luke Rockhold’s been out for a while, he just came back and looked great in a fight. All the other guys are tied up,” White told TSN about the complaints from the middleweight division. “Every time something happens, somebody has something to cry about.
“At the end of the day, Georges St-Pierre has never lost his belt, he’s coming back out of retirement, and he wants to fight another champion. He absolutely can jump in line.”
As far as St-Pierre opting to come back as a middleweight as opposed to returning to the division he ruled with an iron fist for several years, White says there might be some truth to Bisping’s statements that the former welterweight champion might see him as an easier target.
That being said, St-Pierre has stated numerous times that he wants to join the pantheon of fighters to hold titles in two separate divisions and Bisping was the best possible opponent that would allow him to do that on his first day back in the sport.
“I think Bisping’s right when Bisping says ‘you picked this fight cause you think you can beat me’. I think that’s right,” White added. “But at the end of the day he knows, Michael Bisping has more wins in the UFC than anybody else in UFC history. He’s a tough, well rounded durable guy and Georges knows he’s in for a fight but I think Georges liked this fight.
“That’s the only thing I can think of…or maybe Georges St-Pierre wants to challenge himself and see if he’s one of a few people who’s won the 170-pound [title] and move up to 185 [pounds].”
If he’s victorious at UFC 217, St-Pierre joins B.J. Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor as the only fighters in the history of the promotion to hold titles in two different divisions. That’s rarified air indeed and St-Pierre seems like he’s all about history making moments right now.