When the UFC brass ironed out their differences with former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and pencilled him in for an immediate middleweight title shot against divisional king Michael Bisping, their hope was clearly for a positive reception. Unfortunately for them, this booking has been met with plenty in the way of backlash, as its been criticized by fighters like Yoel Romero and Kelvin Gastelum, MMA personalities like Joe Rogan, and of course, the sport’s ever-passionate fans.
Not everyone, however, is bent out of shape over this booking. Streaking middleweight contender Robert Whittaker, for example, has adopted a laissez faire outlook on the whole ordeal. In a recent interview with BJPenn.com’s Tom Taylor, Whittaker explained that he’s not particularly bothered by the booking, and that he hopes it produces the massive payday both Bisping and St-Pierre are looking for. He even admitted that he’s excited to watch the fight.
“Good on them,” Whittaker said. “I hope they get paid. I’m interested in watching, it’s an interesting clash of styles.”
“To be honest – and I’m not saying that Bisping is avoiding top contenders – but anyone that criticizes him for taking what I would have to assume are higher paying fights like GSP, is kind of kidding themselves that they wouldn’t do it [too]. If you offered me four times the money to fight someone else, of course I would rather fight that person. I would fight [up a weight class] at light heavyweight as well. I do understand that there are guys that deserve the shot and are waiting for it, and hopefully they get their opportunity as well.”
Whittaker then offered up a bit of analysis on the fight itself, and explained how he expects it to unfold.
“It’s hard to say who wins without having seen Georges fight in what, three years or so? Let alone at middleweight,” Whittaker said. “Bisping is not a small middleweight, having fought at light heavyweight as well. Bisping also possesses great take down defense, excellent ability to get back to his feet, and in my opinion, underrated jiu jitsu. I can’t help but think based on what I know right now and Bisping’s current form that he may win it. My opinion may change leading into the fight if we see and learn more about how Georges is right now. Obviously his people and Georges himself would not be putting himself into the fight if he didn’t think he could win.”
What do you think of Robert Whittaker’s assessment of this St-Pierre vs. Bisping booking? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/12/2017.