Rising up slowly on the horizon is UFC’s biggest card of the year. UFC 217 will feature three title shots, headlined by Michael Bisping and the welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre, who’ll be making his return to challenge the middleweight throne. Orbiting just outside of all this, is Robert Whittaker. Ol’ Bobby Knuckles is on an eight-fight win streak, and beat both Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero in three months to earn the interim title. Whoever wins between Bisping and St-Pierre allegedly are contractually obligated to fight the heavy-handed Aussie. Confident and laid back, Robert Whittaker says he doesn’t care who ends up with the title. He’ll crush either one.
“Before I got the interim belt, I always had my eyes set on the prize, which is that UFC gold. How I get there doesn’t bother me. I’m either going to to plow a path through the division to get there. I’ve always been open to fight anyone, still am, but I want that belt and I need to fight [Michael] Bisping. So, whatever happens between Bisping and Georges [St-Pierre], let them play around a little bit, but I’ll be ready for either one of ’em.”
“I think [Bisping and S-Pierre]’s going to be a hard fight. I think to be honest, If I had to lean one way or another, I’d definitely lean on Bisping. I think he’s been in the division for a long time. He’s a lot bigger. I think he has the skill sets to take him on, to put a stop to him. Georges has been out for a long time. He’s been retired for awhile. So, that’s how I see the fight going down, but regardless of the winner, I’m going to absolutely crush whoever comes out of there. […] When it’s all said and done and they’ve got there checks and they’re all happy, I’m going to be waiting for them.” — Robert Whittaker speaking to MMA Plus.
It’s easy to believe Whittaker, after all, it’s not easy for Yoel Romero to find a fight and he stepped up to fight that monster even when his leg wasn’t 100%. The only monkey wrench in his plan is that Bisping is contemplating retirement with a win over St-Pierre, and GSP has already said he’d retire if he lost. Either way, Robert Whittaker is healing up with an injury until sometime in 2018, that should be more than enough time to get the title picture situated if both men retire.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/20/2017.