LAS VEGAS — In the year-long lead-up to the fight that now headlines UFC 217, Michael Bisping has made it abundantly clear that he believes Georges St-Pierre is making a major mistake by deciding to move up to middleweight for his UFC comeback. And while it’s clear that St-Pierre has put on some size since the fight’s introductory press conference in March, Bisping remains unimpressed by what he sees from the former welterweight champion.
“He still looks like a lizard,” Bisping said Friday at a UFC 217 press conference. “I said that at the last press conference, and he still looks like one now. He looks like a blown-up version of himself, trying to get bigger. He’s the biggest Georges St-Pierre that we’ve ever seen, but he’s still the smallest guy that I’m ever going to fight. I was 15-0 at light heavyweight, I’m the world champion at middleweight. He’s a blown-up welterweight. I mean, he’s bringing in all these trainers. He’s got Freddie Roach down there. Freddie Roach is a great boxing coach, but he doesn’t know f*ck-all about MMA. He couldn’t even spell UFC, let alone MMA.”
Bisping also dismissed St-Pierre as a “fatter, slower” version of the Canadian’s former self. And in a fiery tirade, Bisping doubled down on his past claims that St-Pierre is only making the decision to come to middleweight now, after resisting the move for so long, because St-Pierre merely believes the Brit to be an easy mark.
“This p*ssy only wants to fight me. He doesn’t want to fight anybody else, because he thinks he can take me down and control me on the floor,” Bisping said.
“He’s training with Freddie Roach. I hope to God, Freddie, you’re trying to turn him into a boxer. I hope he comes out and tries to stand with me, but we all know that’s not going to happen. He’s going to jab, try to take me down. Why? Because we trained together a long time ago and he outwrestled me back then, but that was 12 years ago. But that’s what he thinks is going to happen, so I knew this fight would come off because he hasn’t got the balls to fight anyone who he doesn’t think he can beat, like Anderson Silva, like many other people.”
The potential superfight between St-Pierre and former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is one that was heavily discussed during the peak of St-Pierre’s powers, when he and Silva were among the two most decorated figures in the sport. But despite a widespread desire to see the contest, St-Pierre vs. Silva never came to fruition, largely due to St-Pierre’s reluctance to move up in weight in the middle of his title reign.
St-Pierre defended himself of that narrative on Friday though, stating the Silva fight was never even offered to him in any official way until after he retired in 2014.
“The one time I’ve been offered the fight is after, when I stopped fighting, after my fight with Hendricks,” St-Pierre said. “Dana (White) called me, he said, ‘Do you want to fight Anderson Silva? But I didn’t want to fight nobody. That’s not Silva. You could’ve put a midget, three-foot tall, I would not have (fought him). I just wanted to take a break. That’s the only time (the fight was offered). There was talk of fighting, but never had anything significant been proposed at the time. It’s all rumors.”
Bisping, unsurprisingly, was ready with a quick response.
“He didn’t want to fight because Johny Hendricks hit him in the head so many times, he thought he’d been abducted by aliens,” Bisping shot back. “I’m surprised you’re not wearing a tinfoil hat today to stop the f*cking messages coming. Dude, I’m going to hit you so many times, you’re going to think you’re going to disappear on the mothership.”
A broader conversation about St-Pierre’s move to middleweight and what it means for the division’s true top contenders has been ongoing since the Bisping bout was first rumored. More than a few contenders have voiced their displeasure about St-Pierre being allowed to cut in line after spending four years on the sideline, pointing to the fact that St-Pierre has never ever competed at 185 pounds. Many of those same middleweights have also questioned St-Pierre’s motives and whether “GSP” will even stick around to defend the belt if he defeats Bisping at UFC 217.
St-Pierre and the UFC have tried to quash those concerns by explaining that St-Pierre has a clause in his contract requiring him to unify the belt against interim champion Robert Whittaker if he wins, and St-Pierre echoed those assurances on Friday, stating that his intentions are to stay at 185 pounds.
But Bisping sees a different outcome — and he is confident St-Pierre will never fight again after their Nov. 4 showdown at Madison Square Garden.
“You ain’t going to be fighting Whittaker, pal, so don’t worry about that. I see what you’re saying, but it ain’t going to happen, Georges, so forget this little romance and this fairy tale you have in your head, because you’re going to get your f*cking ass kicked and then that’s that,” Bisping said. “Georges is going to retire. He said, ‘If I don’t win, I’m going to retire.’ Any children here, please listen: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. The saying is not: if at first I don’t succeed, I’m going to f*cking run off and cry like a little b*tch.
“That’s not the expression, Georges. That’s why I’m sitting here with this [belt], and you’re not. Because I got to the top of the mountain many times and failed, but I kept coming back and I kept fighting for it, and here I am. But if you come out of retirement and you lose, you’re going to retire again? Whoop-de-f*cking-doo.”
“If you want to stay and hang out too long after I beat you, it’s your problem, man,” St-Pierre responded. “You become a punching for the other guys, no problem. You do whatever you want.”