LOS ANGELES — Michael Bisping knows he should be pumping Georges St-Pierre up. He should be singing the former UFC welterweight champion’s praises. After all, you don’t want to put down the accomplishments of someone you’re about to fight, lest it minimizes a potential eventual victory over that person.
But, as the MMA world has grown to realize, “The Count” just can’t help himself. So Thursday at a UFC 217 media lunch, he took out his phone, browsed to Wikipedia and verbally threw some cold water on St-Pierre’s résumé.
“He’s fought a lot of the same people over that period,” Bisping said of St-Pierre’s welterweight title run, which stretched from 2008 to 2013. “He’s fought them multiple times. And if you go through the opponents. I mean, BJ Penn, who he fought twice or three times, he’s a featherweight, right? Johny Hendricks, I mean look at Johny Hendricks these days. But still.
“Nick Diaz is a welterweight. Carlos Condit, oh, that’s a good win. Josh Koscheck, Dan Hardy, Thiago Alves — lightweight. BJ Penn — featherweight. Matt Serra — lightweight. These are all smaller guys.”
St-Pierre fought Penn twice, beating him each time. When they fought, Penn was competing at either lightweight or welterweight. But Bisping believes size — GSP cut from around 190 to 170 pounds — was a big part of the Canadian superstar’s success.
“He always had that strength and size advantage,” Bisping said. “Now, he’ll probably be stronger than me in this fight, I don’t doubt it. Because he lifts a lot of weights and he’s doing his amino acids every morning and this and that. He’s a real athlete. But I’m a bigger natural guy and he’s not gonna have that advantage. So yeah, he’s great and he’s beaten a lot of competition. But he’s had competition that has been suited toward him size-wise and skill-wise. This is a different matter.”
Bisping, 38, defends his UFC middleweight title against St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 217 on Nov. 4 in New York. It’s one of the biggest fight cards of the year and Bisping said it’ll likely be his biggest payday after his share of the revenue comes in from the pay-per-view buys. Bisping joked that St-Pierre better start talking to help increase that dollar figure.
“The Count” is certainly pulling more than his fair share of the workload in terms of promotion. He’s hit GSP with just about everything. They got into a verbal confrontation in Toronto two weeks ago. Bisping has accused GSP of steroid use, which the champion says he does not want to make the storyline of the fight.
The size of the two men is part of the storyline, though. It’s indisputable. GSP has not fought in four years and he’s never fought at more than 170 pounds. Bisping is a former light heavyweight who has fought at 185 pounds since 2008.
St-Pierre, 34, has bulked up quite a bit with strength training, but Bisping has joked that GSP is looking a bit chubby and maybe not in the best of shape. On Thursday, he referenced fat on the back of GSP’s neck.
It’s hard to tell when Bisping is being serious or when he’s joking. There’s no doubt, though, that when he says he’ll be fighting a smaller man on Nov. 4 and that is to his benefit, Bisping is telling his truth.
“He can be as big as he wants,” Bisping said. “He’s still gonna be the smallest little sh*t that I’ve ever faced.”