With UFC middleweight Georges St-Pierre currently sidelined with an injury, the promotion’s interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is now expected to defend his title. The interim champion’s first title defense is expected to occur at UFC 221 this February 11, in Perth, Western Australia. His opponent is expected to be former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
News of this planned booking comes from Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.
Preliminary talks are underway to book Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold for UFC 221 in Perth, Western Australia, sources say. Not 100% just yet, though.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 6, 2017
This, of course is the fight Rockhold has been eyeing, having long believed St-Pierre will avoid defending his title.
“He’s not fighting any of us,” Rockhold said of St-Pierre on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Dave Doyle of MMAFighting.com). “He’s too small. Guys like me would feast on Georges. He won’t last here. He had his opportunity, he got his belt, good for you. Just move along and let us handle our business here.”
“They have to make up backup plans,” he continued. “They’re trying to make fights like [me versus] Yoel Romero right now. Why would I fight Yoel Romero no one clearcut fighting Whittaker? Obviously I want to fight for the title if that’s available, I’m not going to f*cking sign any fight. I want to fight for the title, and if that’s available, that what I’m going to do.”
Luke Rockhold last appeared in September, when he defeated David Branch in his long-anticipated return to the Octagon. With this win, he rebounded from a knockout loss to Michael Bisping, which marked the end of his title reign.
Robert Whittaker, meanwhile, last fought in July, when he defeated Yoel Romero to win the UFC interim middleweight belt. This title win extended his current streak to eight-straight. This streak is highlighted by his wins over Romero, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Derek Brunson and Uriah Hall.
Who do you think wins this planned Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold interim middleweight title fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/12/2017.