Should he attempt to sidestep a mooted unification fight between himself and interim 185-pound titlist Robert Whittaker, recently crowned UFC middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre will incur the wrath of the boss.
UFC president Dana White told the media at a luncheon on Tuesday that he was mere hours away from a business conversation with St-Pierre, a conversation during which he did not want to hear the Canadian great talk about vacating the belt to pursue options in his old weight-class – welterweight.
“I don’t want to hear that. That’s not what I want to hear,” White said. “I want to hear he’s going to defend his 185-pound title. That’s the agreement we made. That’s the deal we made when we made the deal(via MMAFighting).”
“I’m going to be super pissed [if St-Pierre wants to drop the title], and I don’t know where we go from there,” he added.
The former longtime welterweight kingpin returned from a four-year hiatus earlier this month and ripped the middleweight strap from Michael Bisping in New York with a spectacular performance. Before that fight even took place, St-Pierre acknowledged that his contract specified that he would have to defend the title against Whittaker if he emerged victorious over Bisping.
Post-fight, however, St-Pierre hummed and hawed about the prospect of facing the talented kiwi, and, in spite of how well he performed against Bisping, continued to deny that he is physically suited to the middleweight division.
White, though, feels that ‘GSP’ is between a rock and a hard place so to speak, with no easy options at either 170lbs or 185lbs, only serious challenges.
“Go to 170 — who’s better to fight at 170? You’ve got [Tyron] Woodley, you’ve got [Stephen] ‘Wonderboy,’ [Thompson] you’ve got [Yoel] Romero, and then you’ve got Luke Rockhold. F*cking monsters,” said White. “They’re all monsters. There’s no fight that looks like, ‘Oh, maybe this is the fight for me to take.’ You looked at Bisping like he was a tune-up. You got your tune-up. There’s nothing but f*cking animals at ’85 and ’70.
“Rockhold is massive. He’s massive when he cuts weight. There’s no good options. To sit there and try to handpick people, or where you want to go and everything else, you can’t in this f*cking sport. They’re all nasty. You’re a fighter. Get in there and see who you can f*cking beat. You wanted to f*cking come back. Welcome back, it’s ugly.
“I said, ‘I’ll tell you what: You want to come in and take this shot against Bisping, I’m cool with that, but you’ve got to defend the title. You can’t drop the title after the fight and then go somewhere else. It’s just, my thing is, to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. And when the man just goes away — listen, if a guy is on a run and undefeated then wants to retire, that’s one thing. The guy retires the belt, that’s another thing. ‘Well, I’m going to drop this one and jump to 170 now,’ I don’t like it.
“That’s language in the contract. It’s in the contract.”
If being at a significant size disadvantage is St-Pierre’s biggest worry, Whittaker is certainly not the worst opponent for him at middleweight. The 26-year-old is very dangerous – he has, after all, won eight consecutive fights and scooped the interim belt with a decision win over aforementioned beast Romero – but he is also himself a former welterweight, whose speed and movement has been key to his success against bigger, stronger men at 185lbs.