Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Robert Whittaker ‘Disappointed’ Not to Fight ‘Idol’ Georges St-Pierre

Recently crowned UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker feels somewhat ambivalent at short-term champ Georges St-Pierre‘s decision to vacate the title

While recognizing that the Canadian legend did the right thing in relinquishing the title, Whittaker would have preferred to have fought St-Pierre for personal reasons.

Instead, Whittaker will square off against another former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. Rockhold’s surprise defeat to Michael Bisping in their UFC 199 title fight led to the discordance in the middleweight division that the Australian now wants to settle with a long-term title reign.

“Yeah, it was [disappointing to miss a fight with Georges St-Pierre], because I wanted to fight Georges out of respect more than anything,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “I idolized him as a child coming up and as a young man coming up in my career he was always like one of my biggest idols. To be able to fight him would’ve been great, to put him on my resume and say I fought Georges St-Pierre, that was great. But I don’t think I ever really convinced myself that he would fight me. I think it was a dangerous fight for him, a hard fight for him and it is what it is.”

“Bobby Knuckles” recognizes the threat Rockhold will pose to him in their bout in February:

“What [St-Pierre leaving] did do was it gave me direction, it gave me an opponent, it gave me a place, a time, and it gave me something to strive for. I’m very objective-driven, so to be given an opponent and a place and a time and a date, it’s great for me. Anyone who thinks Rockhold is an easy fight is off their head. He’s the previous champ, he’s one of the best fighters in the world.

“Anyone that can say he’s an easy fight can fight him. Let’s see Kelvin [Gastelum] fight him, and that’s not saying he’s not a hard fight, he’s a very hard fight, I think everyone in the top ten is a very hard fight. Kelvin Gastelum’s got a bunch of great skillsets and he’s beaten some real studs, but he can fight some other guys in the top ten and some other killers that I had to work my way through.”

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