At a to-be-determined date later this year, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return from a hiatus of several years to a shot at middleweight champion Michael Bisping. While news of this St-Pierre comeback was exciting for many fans, however, it was a bit of a buzzkill for the many hard-working contenders in the middleweight division – contenders like Kelvin Gastelum, who surged into title contention with a first-round knockout of Vitor Belfort in Brazil last night.
Shortly after his defeat of Belfort, Gastelum weighed in on St-Pierre’s line-jumping middleweight title fight, expressing his opinion that it tarnishes the legitimacy of divisional rankings and contendership.
“What’s the point of having contenders, what’s the point of having rankings if we’re not going to follow the rankings, if we’re not going to follow the No. 1 contenders? It just doesn’t make any sense,” Gastelum told MMAjunkie.com shortly after his win in Brazil. “Now, everybody wants those big ‘money fights,’ and it just doesn’t make any sense to have any rankings if we’re going to keep doing that kind of stuff.”
Gastelum, of course, is not the first member of the MMA community to discuss the way St-Pierre’s title shot devalues rankings, contendership, and even world titles.
“As a person who deeply respects the position of champion – if you’re gonna do this whole interim title thing and you’re gonna have guys come back after being out of the sport for three years and get a shot right at the title, why have f**king championships at all?” Rogan queried (via MMAFighting.com).
What do you think of Georges St-Pierre getting an immediate middleweight title shot? Do you understand Kelvin Gastelum’s frustration on this one? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/12/2017.