Rockhold has no idea what the UFC is doing by booking a middleweight championship fight between Bisping and St-Pierre.
Count former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold among those who are annoyed by the promotion’s decision to book a championship tilt between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre.
The UFC announced earlier this month that St-Pierre would be returning to the Octagon after a three-year hiatus to face Bisping for the 185-pound title.
Rockhold, who lost the middleweight belt when he was knocked out by heavy underdog Bisping at UFC 199, didn’t mince words on UFC Tonight. The Californian said the UFC is ‘on a slippery slope’ and believes that things are in a state of ‘chaos’.
“It’s chaos, isn’t it? I think they’re running down a slippery slope,” Rockhold told co-hosts Kenny Florian and Tyron Woodley, per MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn. “Things could easily get out of hand, you never know what these guys are going to do. Georges isn’t going to fight anybody in the top of our division if he wins this fight. Bisping could potentially be in the same boat.
“I’m bummed they took this route. It’s kind of taken away from the heart of the sport. It’s about the top guys fighting each other. This isn’t WWE. This is fighting. It’s what it’s all about. So when they make moves like this, it definitely makes you question a lot of things of what you’re doing and how you approach things.”
The UFC’s matchmaking process began to shift — rather significantly — when they booked the welterweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. It was reported that ‘The Notorious’ demanded the rematch, and their second bout at UFC 202 smashed box office records. ‘Money fights’ have almost taken precedence over title fights and, even Rockhold, an outspoken critic of Bisping vs. GSP has been pushing for a high-profile heavyweight matchup with Fabricio Werdum.
While that fight is unlikely to materialize due to the size discrepancy, Rockhold is also angling for an interim title bout against No. 1 ranked middleweight contender Yoel Romero.
“There’s a lot of fights happening and everyone is kind of tied up, so it just kind of depends what their thoughts are,” he said. “I know Yoel’s out there waiting. I don’t know what his program is exactly, but if they want to put a real belt on the line I would gladly go fight Yoel for it.
“But I want security. If I’m going to go fight a top guy, I want to know what my next fight is to unify the title and get that thing going. I’m not here to dance around. I’m here to fight for titles and fight for championship money.”
Rockhold, who has been nursing a knee injury, hasn’t fought since losing the belt to Bisping last year but is still considered one of the best fighters in the division. The American Kickboxing Academy product could face Romero while Bisping battles with GSP, but Rockhold is most likely to rematch ‘Jacare’ Souza, who he beat to win the Strikeforce 185 lbs. title in 2011.
When asked about the stylistic clash between Bisping and St-Pierre, Rockhold said that he expects Bisping to win but doesn’t think the Brit will defend the belt after that.
“I think Bisping wins the fight,” Rockhold said. “It’s a bigger guy, and stylistically he’s not going to be able to take him down and run around him like he has with other guys in the past. (St-Pierre has) been out for a long time. (Bisping is) a bigger guy who can scramble and probably out-box him. I see Bisping winning the fight. Then we’ll see if Bisping is a man of his word. He obviously hasn’t been so far to this date. If he’s going to fight a true contender, we’ll see what he’s going to do or run off into the sunset.”
Bisping vs. St-Pierre is expected to take place in July, although no date or venue has been officially announced.