UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has sounded off on Georges St-Pierre not fighting him.
St-Pierre returned to competition in November after four years away from the sport to win the middleweight title with a submission victory in the third round over Michael Bisping at UFC 217.
The win made St-Pierre just the fourth fighter in UFC history to win titles in two divisions. He now joins Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, and Conor McGregor.
Shortly after the fight, it was announced that GSP had vacated the title and the promotion awarded interim champion Whittaker the actual championship. Now, GSP is on the sidelines as he deals with colitis.
“I felt like the champion well before they came out and said it,” Whittaker said this week on The MMA Hour. “I think a lot of the middleweight division considered me the champion well before they came out and said it. The middleweight division was in a funny spot for a long time, with just the way things were panning out, who was fighting who, all these fighters that were coming out of left field. Like, there were matchups — they’re all funny, let’s just say they’re funny.
“And in my opinion, the rankings and the division, the way it should work is you have your champ, you have your No. 1, your No. 2, and the champ fights one, two fights one, three fights two, and you work your way up like that. And I just feel like, with Georges getting in there and proving to everyone the caliber of fighter he is, and that he can still get in there and do what he’s supposed to do, and the belt coming to me after I fought my way through some tough guys, the best in the division — I feel this is like a return to normalcy.”
No doubt the biggest fight that Whittaker could’ve taken right now would be against St-Pierre due to the fact that he’s one of the biggest draws in the history of the sport.
“I was split,” Whittaker said. “It was hard. I thought maybe if we fought in Montreal, we get a big pay-per-view, [St-Pierre] may want to fight me, because realistically, he doesn’t have too much to lose with that fight. But, yeah, there was always that part of me that thought, ‘No, there’s no way he’s going to take that fight with me.’ It’s a hard fight for anyone on any given day. And like he showed and he said, it’s not his division. He’s not built for the division the way that I am or other middleweights are, so it was hard for him to get up to the weight and to utilize that weight properly.
“I always knew there was a very big chance he was just going to take off and not fight,” Whittaker added. “I was just hoping he wouldn’t take another fight on the sidelines and just hold up the division once again.”
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