Georges St-Pierre made his name in the mixed martial arts world by becoming the greatest UFC welterweight champion of all time.
He stepped away from the game at his peak, having last fought when he won a decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November of 2013. It will have been nearly four years since St-Pierre set foot in the Octagon when he challenges middleweight champion Michael Bisping on Nov. 4 at UFC 217 in New York.
Although his initial plans for a return didn’t necessarily include remaining at middleweight, St-Pierre on Monday revealed that if he defeats Bisping and captures the middleweight crown, his new UFC contract requires him to defend the belt in his next bout.
“I have a contract with UFC. They signed me for a few fights,” St-Pierre said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I have to defend my title. It’s written in my contract. I have to defend my title if I win.”
“I think it’s Whittaker gonna be the guy gonna I have the other fight when I beat Bisping. He’s gonna be the guy I’m gonna fight next,” St-Pierre was informed by UFC officials.
Like Conor McGregor, St-Pierre’s plans appear to be focused on big challenges and marquee fights that aren’t necessarily tied to chasing down belts and dominating divisions the way he did during his run as the promotion’s welterweight kingpin. The UFC, however, doesn’t want to allow him to hold up the middleweight title the way that McGregor has held up the featherweight and lightweight belts.
McGregor held the UFC featherweight title for a year before he captured the lightweight title. The promotion then forced him to relinquish the 145-pound belt. He has held the lightweight title for the better part of a year, while focusing on the birth of his first child and chasing down his dream fight with Floyd Mayweather.
St-Pierre, however, will have to face Whittaker next if he wins the belt, and readily admits that wasn’t in the initial blueprint for his return to the Octagon. But it’s something he’s resigned do dealing with in order to get the fight with Bisping.
“That wasn’t my initial plan, but I understand the UFC point of view. They want to protect their titles. They don’t want people to delay the defense of their title.”