Georges St-Pierre wins middleweight title after choking out Michael Bisping at UFC 217

Georges St-Pierre earned the win with a third round rear naked choke against Michael Bisping

Georges St-Pierre wanted to make history with his return to the UFC and that’s exactly what he accomplished with a third round submission to defeat Michael Bisping and become the new middleweight champion of the world.

The victory moves St-Pierre into rarified air as he joins Conor McGregor, Randy Couture and B.J. Penn as the only fighters in UFC history to hold titles in two divisions. St-Pierre is the first to ever hold both the welterweight and middleweight titles.

Of course, St-Pierre’s win didn’t come without some adversity as Bisping gave him everything he could handle as the Canadian made his debut at 185 pounds on Saturday night.

Despite being out for nearly four years, St-Pierre didn’t look like he missed a step as he established his jab in the early part of the opening round before pushing forward for a takedown to keep Bisping guessing at where he was going next.

St-Pierre did seem to slow a bit in the second round but he still managed a pair of takedowns while Bisping started to find his timing and range from the outside. Bisping landed his two best punches in that round as he clobbered St-Pierre with a pair of right hands that twisted the Canadian’s head around on a swivel.

Still, St-Pierre kept moving forward and would use his takedowns to slow down whatever momentum Bisping began gaining with the few solid shots he landed.

It was actually on the ground where Bisping did the most damage as he was throwing elbows from the bottom that opened up a pair of cuts that had St-Pierre bleeding profusely going into the third round.

That didn’t stop St-Pierre from unleashing a left hand during an exchange with Bisping that set up the end of the fight as he connected flush and the Brit fell backwards onto the canvas. St-Pierre followed up with punches but then saw an opening for the rear naked choke and he latched onto Bisping’s back to look for the finish.

Bisping refused to tap out but St-Pierre wasn’t letting go until he put the 38-year old veteran to sleep as the referee stopped the contest at 4:23 into the third round.

“I don’t have the words in my mouth right now,” St-Pierre said following his historic win to become a two-division UFC champion. “It’s my dream come true.”

Following the win, St-Pierre wasn’t ready to commit to the weight class where he would fight next other than saying middleweight is not a natural division for him. It could be an even bigger fight now for St-Pierre to return to the welterweight division where he was a nine time defending champion before taking almost four years off to face the current king in Tyron Woodley.

As for Bisping, the now former champion had hinted at retirement following this card but after suffering a loss on Saturday night, he promised he’s not going anywhere.

“I’m not done,” Bisping said. “I know I spoke about retirement but Georges was the better man tonight. Simple as that. No excuses. He beat me. He f–king choked me out. Congratulations Georges.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.