The worst-kept secret in mixed martial arts is now official. Actually, it wasn’t ever really a secret.
UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping will put his belt on the line against former welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre in the Canadian’s return to the Octagon. The two will headline UFC 217 on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The UFC made the bout official on Saturday, announcing it via its website.
It’s been a long and winding road to this point. The bout was originally announced earlier this year when the UFC held a press conference to reveal St-Pierre had inked a new deal to return to fighting after nearly four years on the sidelines.
The bout had been expected to take place much sooner than UFC 217, but after numerous delays, UFC president Dana White dissolved the bout and moved on. But after recent developments in the welterweight division that weren’t what White had hoped for, and Bisping and St-Pierre constantly lobbying for the fight, White did a 180-degree turn and reinstated the bout for New York.
With Bisping vs. St-Pierre nabbing the headlining slot, the UFC is adding another title fight to the card with bantamweight titleholder Cody Garbrandt making his return to action opposite TJ Dillashaw.
Garbrandt and Dillashaw were supposed to fight over the summer following a coaching stint opposite each other on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, but an injury forced Garbrandt out.
Now, with both bouts back intact, UFC 217 is starting to take on the stature of its iconic venue.