Earlier this month, the UFC announced that Georges St-Pierre would be making his long-awaited return to the Octagon, challenging Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship. It caused quite a stir.
St-Pierre has been in retirement for the last three years and has never competed as a middleweight. Moreover, this would now be Bisping’s second title defense in a row fighting a challenger well outside of the hierarchy of qualified candidates. Many spoke out against the matchmaking, most notably, number one contender Yoel Romero who was leap-frogged by the whims of St-Pierre.
Romero isn’t the only UFC middleweight unhappy about the decision though. Former champion Chris Weidman recently spoke with Submission Radio where he said he understands both Bisping and St-Pierre’s motivations, but believes that the UFC’s decision to bypass established contenders is mucking up the rest of the division.
“It’s definitely holding up the division which sucks for everybody in the middleweight division. I understand GSP, he gets the opportunity to fight for the middleweight title against a guy who’s probably less dangerous for him than even at welterweight, fighting a guy like Tyron Woodley. It’s a great opportunity for GSP so I understand where he’s going.
“Bisping, it’s a great opportunity for him. He gets to make a lot of money fighting GSP and it’s a guy who’s coming up from welterweight who hasn’t fought in three years and, again, he’s not fighting a top contender in the middleweight division. So for those two guys it’s working out great, but for the rest of the division, it kind of sucks.”
Middleweight does currently have a backlog of viable contenders. Ronaldo Souza has put together back-to-back first round finishes over ranked contenders, Weidman and Luke Rockhold are former champions, and the winner of the upcoming Anderson Silva vs. Kelvin Gastelum fight will have a credible claim on a title shot as well. But of these contenders, none is more deserving than Romero.
The Olympic silver medalist in wrestling is currently on an eight fight winning streak in the UFC, with six of those wins coming via stoppage. After knocking out Weidman at UFC 205, Romero was all but guaranteed a title shot by UFC President Dana White, only to now have the opportunity denied. And while Weidman says that is unfortunate for Romero, he also says it’s inevitable since, according to him, Bisping doesn’t want the fight.
“Yeah, I definitely feel for him. He deserves it. He beat me fair and square with a beautiful knockout. So I expected him to get it but Bisping I don’t think wants that fight and then all of a sudden it’s just bad timing with GSP coming back and Bisping opening his mouth trying- he wants that [St-Pierre] fight. Just bad timing for [Romero].”
But Weidman says he doesn’t have time to focus on Bisping vs. St-Pierre because he has his own issues to focus on. Weidman is set to face surging contender Gegard Mousasi on April 8 at UFC 210. Mousasi is coming off a sensational 2016 which saw him win four times and has him on the cusp of true title contention. It’s a fight Weidman wanted because, though he is currently on a two-fight losing streak, a win over Mousasi would put him back in the thick of the already muddled middleweight title picture and eventually, gets him back to his ultimate goal: the UFC championship.
“It’s what I want. I want the best guys. I want the guys that - when have I ever fought a guy who wasn’t a top guy? And Mousasi I think would be almost a step down from the level of guys I’ve been fighting. He’s on a nice win streak, he’s developed a name for himself, he’s experienced, he’s been around, but I feel like every time he’s stepped up and fought a top-notch guy, he’s came up a little bit short. It’s a great fight. People are behind him, people think he’s good, so if I go out there and dominate him I think it brings me closer to getting back to that title contention.
“What I want more than anything is the title. That’s where the money’s at. That’s the bread and butter. So getting the title is the number one thing I have my eyes set on.”
So it’s definitely not happening then.
This video resurfaced yesterday of a one second KO. Poor Sam Heron.
This is a thing that the UFC does.
Conlan on his friendship with Conor.
Really well done.
Brad Pickett had a hell of a career.
The MMA Circus.
Manuwa and Jouban did a Q & A’s.
Manuwa is not a small guy either.
Trying way too hard.
This looks both incredibly difficult and incredibly weird.
I signed with @ufc today. Short term goal accomplished. More to come.— Jared Gordon (@JFlashGordonMMA) March 15, 2017
Look at how absurdly athletic and skilled Yoel was as a wrestler.
Rena Kubota (3-0) vs. Dora Perjes (7-1); Rizin, April 16.
Tenshin Nasukawa (2-0) vs. Francesco Ghigliotti (0-0); Rizin, April 16.
Reina Miura (2-0) vs. Jazzy Gabert (1-0); Rizin, April 16.
Kanna Asakura (6-2) vs. Aleksandra Plamenova (0-0); Rizin, April 16.
Saori Ishioka (14-10) vs. Bestare Kicaj (2-0); Rizin, April 16.
Angela Lee (7-0) vs. Istela Nunes (5-0, 1 NC); ONE: Dynasty of Heroes, May 26.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2003: Fedor Emelianenko won became the baddest man on the planet, winning the Pride heavyweight championship from Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera at Pride 25.
This guy fights this weekend. Hard for me to be too pumped about the (underrated) UFC card when we get Kazakh Thunder. Look at Curtis Stevens’ face when GGG cracks him; that’s a real come to Jesus moment.
That’s all folks. Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
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