Rockhold, a former UFC and Strikeforce champion, was convinced of what many others thought when they heard that St-Pierre, the former longtime UFC welterweight champion, was coming out of retirement to meet then-middleweight champ Michael Bisping at UFC 217. GSP sensed a vulnerable champ, one he could defeat even as an undersized 185-pounder.
Now, a month after St-Pierre scored a memorable submission win over Bisping to claim the gold, Rockhold doesn’t believe he’ll defend the 185-pound title.
“He’s not fighting any of us,” Rockhold said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “He’s too small. Guys like me would feast on Georges. He won’t last here. He had his opportunity, he got his belt, good for you. Just move along and let us handle our business here.”
While Rockhold thought Bisping would win, he also believed that if GSP did win, it would only further ensnare a division which already had an interim champion in Robert Whittaker.
“I thought [GSP] would potentially lose, yes,” Rockhold said. “But I did say if he did win, he would be in a situation where wouldn’t fight any of us and then we would just be more tangled up.”
And that’s where we are as the calendar winds toward 2018. St-Pierre’s camp announced last week that a bout of colitis, which can be a very serious condition, will keep him sidelined for awhile. Rockhold doesn’t seem to be buying it.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions,” Rockhold said. “But, I mean, the fact is come out and just that say you don’t want to fight here in the division, relinquish the title, and move on. I’m tired of story after story and just dragging us on and leaving us in the dark. State what it is. If you’re sick you’re sick, but the fact is, you don’t want to fight in the division.”
UFC 221 will be held in Perth, Australia, on Feb. 10. Headlining the show with Whittaker, an Australian, makes perfect sense.
Rockhold indicated on The MMA Hour he would absolutely be open to traveling across the world and meeting Whittaker on his home turf. But he says the UFC is trying to make a fight with Yoel Romero that he doesn’t want.
“There’s been talks all along the way, potential this, potential that,” Rockhold said. “They have to make up backup plans. They’re trying to make fights like Yoel Romero right now. Why would I fight Yoel Romero no one clearcut fighting Whittaker? Obviously I want to fight for the title if that’s available, I’m not going to f*cking sign any fight. I want to fight for the title, and if that’s available, that what I’m going to do.”
As Rockhold sees it, if a title fight with Whittaker is made, there shouldn’t be an “interim” tag attached.
“If Georges were to stay, it would be laughable,” Rockhold said. “I’d be seeking the fight, I’m not seeking the fight because that’s not realistic. Georges won’t fight me, he won’t fight anyone. So, he looks right, Whittaker is the real champ, he has been the real champ a long time. Like I said, make it official and let’s move on.”