Middleweight champion Michael Bisping last fought in October 2016. He defended his title and avenged a previous loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 204, but has since been sidelined with injuries. He’ll return to the cage on Nov. 4 against former welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 217.
St-Pierre walked away from the sport in 2013 after defending his title for the ninth consecutive time. When he steps into the Octagon against Bisping, “The Count” plans on reminding the Canadian why he decided to step away from fighting in the first place.
“Four years, which is what it will be, that is a significant layoff. There is a reason why Georges retired. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but I’m assuming he was sick of the pressure, sick of fighting basically. And I can understand that,” Bisping told UFC.com.
“He did it for a long time, but he’s been away for four years. On the night, when the lights are on and it’s time to go to work, he’s going to remember. When I punch him in the face, he’s going to remember why he retired.”
The match-up was originally announced in March, but didn’t have a date attached to the announcement. When St-Pierre revealed that he wouldn’t be ready to compete in the time frame the fight promotion wanted, the bout fell apart.
UFC president Dana White stated that Bisping would face interim titleholder Robert Whittaker and that St-Pierre would fight welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. After Woodley defended his belt against Demian Maia in July, White wasn’t impressed with Woodley and changed the plan back to the original booking between Bisping and St-Pierre.
The two will finally meet at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but Bisping doesn’t think St-Pierre is committed to fighting in the same why that he was when he reigned atop the 170-pound division.
“I honestly don’t think his heart is in it anymore,” Bisping said.