Robert Whittaker is the first to admit that he’s a fan of Georges St-Pierre.
The interim UFC middleweight champion sat cage side on Saturday night as St-Pierre dethroned Michael Bisping in his first fight back in nearly four years. The win made St-Pierre the new UFC middleweight champion, which now sets him on a collision course with Whittaker to unify the title.
Whittaker, who has never been known for trash talking his opponents, almost sounded happy for St-Pierre when addressing his victory over Bisping as he now becomes only the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two different divisions.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Whittaker told News.AU in Australia. “I was a massive fan of him when I was younger — and when I was at welterweight as well. Every welterweight in the world aspired to become something like him.
“If I got the privilege of fighting him? Man, dream come true.”
Now all that said, Whittaker can still take off his fan glasses to assess St-Pierre’s performance and that’s where he was a little more critical as the Canadian was making his first appearance competing at 185 pounds when he fought Bisping at UFC 217.
While St-Pierre ultimately won the fight with a knockdown on the feet followed by a rear naked choke on the ground, he did seem to slow down in the second round where Bisping staged a comeback and it appeared the tides in the fight were turning.
“To be honest, he looked slower than he’s ever been,” Whittaker said. “He’s just as crafty. You can see the intelligence is still there. His fight IQ is still there. He obviously hits harder at middleweight.
“But I hit hard and I hit fast — and much harder and faster than Bisping. And I have much better defense than Bisping. So it looks good.”
UFC president Dana White has already said that Whittaker is next for St-Pierre as the UFC looks to free up the clog at the top of the middleweight division where they’ve had two champions since July.
What’s unknown as of now is when Whittaker might get his chance to face St-Pierre considering he just fought last Saturday night and traditionally the Canadian has only fought twice per year during his reign as champion in the UFC.
That means Whittaker could be sitting on the shelf for several months waiting for St-Pierre to return, but he says that kind of fight is worth the wait.
“I’m happy to wait,” Whittaker added. “Fighting a legend like that is worth the time. My wants have to go on the back seat a bit for him. He’s a living legend and in respect I’ll do that. But if he’s going to hang around at middleweight we’ll touch gloves eventually. I’m confident.”