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Michael Bisping expects Georges St-Pierre to ‘hide from fighting’ at UFC 217

Michael Bisping (left) and Georges St-Pierre (right)
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Michael Bisping is preparing for the best Georges St-Pierre and he knows that means having to deal with a wrestling attack that could have him fighting off of his back for the majority of their upcoming title bout. It’s a strategy that “GSP” has employed to great success throughout his career, but Bisping believes it’s just an excuse to avoid a real fight.

At a press conference in Toronto on Friday to promote UFC 217, the middleweight champion was highly critical of St-Pierre’s history of using grappling to neutralize his opponents.

“You’re going to waste all your energy trying to take me down,” Bisping said. “See, when you wrestle, that’s you trying to hide from fighting. I don’t hide from fighting. And Georges is going to have to fight me.”

In 27 professional fights, St-Pierre has only tasted defeat twice, and those losses were later avenged in definitive fashion. However, as Bisping points out, the welterweight great isn’t exactly known for his explosive finishes and he has not ended a fight inside the distance since UFC 94 back in January 2009 when B.J. Penn was unable to answer the bell between rounds.

GSP has promised that he will be more aggressive in looking for either a submission or knockout of Bisping, but “The Count” isn’t convinced.

“Listen, here’s the thing. I don’t doubt you’ve been working on other things because that’s what we do as martial artists, but at the end of the day you can’t reinvent the wheel,” Bisping said. “The fundamentals are still the same, the same kicks, the same punches, the same submissions. What? Have you invented a new submission I’ve never seen before? A kick I’ve never seen? What exactly are you going to do?

“You’re going to jab, jab, double leg, bore everybody to sleep. I, on the other side, am going to try and knock you out.”

Bisping is so confident that St-Pierre will stick to his usual gameplan that he’s dedicated most of his training to stopping St-Pierre’s infamous takedowns. The grinding style of the French-Canadian fighter provided no end of amusement for Bisping at Friday’s presser, though he admitted that it was far less entertaining studying it than poking fun at it.

“This training camp predominantly has been working on stopping people taking me down and smothering me and cuddling me and stopping fighting and trying to focus on actual fighting,” Bisping said. “Trying to give the people a show, Georges. Trying to fight. What’s it called? ‘The Ultimate-what-Championship’? What’s it called? Is it ‘Wrestling’ or ‘Fighting’?”

“You know, I tried watching his fights, I fall asleep all the time,” Bisping continued. “I swear to God, I do. I sit there, I have a coffee, which is a stimulant to keep me awake and I still can’t do it. I fall asleep every time.”

For his part, St-Pierre wasn’t taking the criticism lying down and he offered a short response to Bisping’s questioning of his finishing ability.

“Who was the last person you knocked out, Georges?” Bisping asked. “Who was the last person you knocked out?”

To which St-Pierre replied: “You’ll be the next. He’s the next one. It’s not going to go five rounds.”

Bisping defends the UFC middleweight title against St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 217 on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, N.Y.

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