Earlier this year, the UFC brass announced that former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre would be making his highly anticipated return to the Octagon to fight UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping in a highly anticipated showdown for the middleweight title sometime 2017. While no date was announced for the bout, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the fight would take place sometime in 2017.
While the combat sports community was thrilled with the matchup, the UFC middleweight division is a different story. Given that St-Pierre is returning to the Octagon and being given an immediate title shot in the middleweight division, several top contenders feels as though the move is going to put the middleweight division on hold.
Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold sent a message to both the UFC and his fellow middleweights this week when he called for the promotion to create an interim title, or risk losing their division.
He spoke on The MMA Hour:
“If they’re not putting an interim title on the line, or if they’re not making Bisping fight a contender, I’m not fighting anybody,” Rockhold said (via MMA Fighting). “And so should the rest of the division, too. What’s the point? Without me, Mousasi, Yoel, and Whittaker? I think everyone should just stand their ground, and say f—k you. Put a title on the line or else, f—k, you don’t even have a division.”
“I think everyone is already on strike, aren’t they? We’re all waiting on a title. Whittaker’s down. I’ve voiced my opinion, and I think Mousasi should stand his ground, too. I mean, without us you have no f—ing division. Make something happen.”
“They’re forcing us into a corner. We got to stick up and stay together and make something happen. I’m tired of this sh-t, man.”
So far no word yet on when Luke Rockhold will return to the Octagon following a knee injury that forced him out of his scheduled November showdown with Jacare Souza, however the former champ recently revealed via social media that he was back in the gym and looking for an opponent for this summer!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/9/2017.