Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

‘Who wants to pay to see Woodley fight again?’: Michael Bisping to face Georges St-Pierre, as UFC president White slams champion

White heavily criticises Tyron Woodley for his cautious performance at UFC 214, and says ‘I know Michael Bisping will fight’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 July, 2017, 3:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 July, 2017, 10:01am

Just days after claiming the “ship has sailed” on a fight between Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping, UFC president Dana White says the bout is back on.

“The ship f****** turned around and sailed back,” said White at a press conference following Saturday’s UFC 214 event.

A date has not been set for the fight, which will be former UFC welterweight champion St-Pierre’s long-awaited return to the octagon after more than three-and-a-half years away.

Bisping had looked set to defend his UFC middleweight championship against interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, with Tyron Woodley in line for a bout with St-Pierre.

But with Whittaker’s knee banged up from his interim title win over Yoel Romero, and after Woodley’s heavily-criticised performance in his successful UFC welterweight title defence against Demian Maia, White decided to change his plans.

“They broke record for least punches ever thrown in a title fight,” said White. “There’s not much to be pleased with or talk about.”

White said he made the decision to go with Bisping during the fifth round of the fight – which Woodley won by unanimous decision – with the Honda Centre crowd in Anaheim booing Woodley’s cautious tactics.

The UFC president pulled no punches in his criticism of his welterweight champion.

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“You ask fans if they want to see Woodley fight again. I think that would be a flat-out no,” said White. “If you take no risks, you get no rewards.

“Who wants to pay to see Tyron Woodley fight again? He is an absolute physical specimen but ... he didn’t want to take the risks.

“I know Michael Bisping will fight,” White added. “He will show up and actually fight. I’m gonna give it [the St-Pierre fight] to him”

White said Whittaker will face the winner of Bisping v St-Pierre, who last fought in November 2013 when he secured a ninth consecutive welterweight title defence with a split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.

The Canadian then vacated his title and walked away from the octagon, citing concerns over the lack of a stringent anti-doping policy in the UFC.

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But with the United States Anti-Doping Agency now administering the UFC’s doping tests, St-Pierre announced earlier this year he would return and fight Bisping.

However, the 36-year-old then claimed he could not fight until November, which made White set up a fight between Bisping and Romero, who was then the top middleweight challenger.

But a knee injury to Bisping saw White set up the interim title bout between Romero and Whittaker at UFC 213 for the right to face Bisping next. Once again, though, plans have changed.