At a to-be-determined date later this year, former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return from a long hiatus to challenge Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title. Given that St-Pierre has never fought at middleweight before, his being given this opportunity over deserving middleweight contenders like Yoel Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has generated ample criticism.
The latest of this criticism comes from former champion Luke Rockhold. On UFC Tonight Rockhold suggested that, while a champion should be able to pick their challengers out of a small pool of top-5 foes, picking a challenger who’s never fought in the division before is a bit excessive. His words via MMAWeekly.com.
“I think there’s a certain pool of guys that you can pick from, and you should stay with the top five or so guys depending on the champion, where the champion’s at, and who he’s beat,” he said during a recent appearance on UFC Tonight. “I understand that there’s an entertainment value and to some level you can go with that. Conor [McGregor] can jump up. He can fight at the next weight class and try to take that next belt. But making moves like Georges St-Pierre and Bisping is a joke.”
“Georges has never fought at middleweight and he’s been out for four years. It makes no sense. I understand that there’s a debt to pay, but there’s better ways to do it. There are other fights that are bigger. You talk about money fights, Bisping is not a money fight, so you might as well put [St-Pierre] against a Nick Diaz or Anderson Silva.”
Luckily for Rockhold and those that share his opinion, it sounds as though this Bisping vs. St-Pierre fight is in jeopardy, as Bisping is getting tired of waiting for the Canadian to sign on the dotted line. While it seems unlikely given the money on the table, this could mean Romero gets the title shot many people believe he deserves.
What do you think of these comments from Luke Rockhold? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/27/2017.