Last weekend, in the main event of UFC 217, Georges St-Pierre captured the UFC middleweight title with a third-round submission over Michael Bisping. Though St-Pierre previously stated that he’s contractually obligated to fight interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker next, former champion Luke Rockhold doesn’t buy that. In his opinion, St-Pierre is likely to hold up the middleweight division for some time before heading back down to welterweight where his heyday took place.
“Unfortunately it sounds like we have a hold up and it’s gonna take some time to iron out what’s next,” Rockhold said on a recent episode of Submission Radio (h/t MMAFighting.com). “I know [St-Pierre] is contractually obligated to defend his belt, but as we all heard on the mic [at UFC 217], he’s backtracking and he’s trying to find his way out, seemingly…”
“I think it’s ridiculous if they were to let him hold onto it and not pull that,” Rockhold continued. “Let him relinquish that and go down to fight Tyron [Woodley] like it sounds like he wants to do. I think they should just get back to what made this company what it is. You go too far down the wrong trail and there’s no turning back. You go too far into Conor McGregor land and you get that fight going and the whole thing is a mess. They need to just put the best against the best in each division and stop jumping around.”
Whatever the case, Luke Rockhold says he’s up for fighting Whittaker – for the undisputed title – if St-Pierre holds up the division for too long.
“I’ve talked about [fighting Whittaker at UFC Perth] with the UFC and it is potentially on the table but I’m not going out there to fight for the interim title. GSP needs to figure it out. He needs to move on, get out, and really, Robert Whittaker is the real champion. Bisping lost that title, in my eyes, a long time ago when he decided to fight guys outside the top ten, and welterweights for that matter. He earned it. He got the title but Whittaker’s been the man for the last year. He’s fought Jacare, he’s fought Yoel, he’s fought the top contenders and that’s what it takes to be the champion. In my eyes, Whittaker’s the champ. So I’ll be ready to go to Perth, it’s just a matter of how this whole thing plays out.
“I know Whittaker obviously wants that fight [with St-Pierre], as he should, but I don’t think he’s gonna get it. I’m more than willing to move on and take him on in Perth. I love Australia and the kid’s a stud and I’d be honored to fight him. “
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/11/2017.