UFC middleweight Oluwale Bamgbose is happy to see the division in which he competes back in order.
The top of the UFC middleweight division has undergone several changes in the past month and a half — changes that Oluwale Bamgbose believes are good for the weight class.
Bamgbose, a middleweight who meets Alessio Di Chirico at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg on Saturday, was glad to see Georges St-Pierre vacate the title last week after beating Michael Bisping for the belt in November.
St-Pierre cited his recent colitis diagnosis as the reason he decided to drop the newly-captured title. Robert Whittaker, who won the interim championship in July, was subsequently promoted to undisputed-champion status.
Bamgbose said the middleweight division is “back in order,” and he’s happy about that.
“It was an interesting chain of events that transpired,” Bamgbose told BloodyElbow.com. “GSP, all respect to him, he was and still is one of the greatest MMA fighters that the UFC has embarked on. But at the same time, I felt like he had no business in the 185-pound division. But he proved himself worthy, as far as beating the champ legitimately.”
The top of the middleweight division has been a mess since Bisping upset Luke Rockhold in June 2016. After winning the title, Bisping defended the title against Dan Henderson, who was not ranked in the division’s top-10 at the time of the fight. After narrowly getting past “Hendo,” Bisping sat on the sidelines until the St-Pierre fight at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bisping was choked unconscious in the third round.
As a result of Bisping’s fight with Hendo, as well as sitting out for over a year between title defenses, many top contenders, including Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza, did not get a chance to claim undisputed UFC gold.
After losing to St-Pierre, Bisping stepped up on short notice for Anderson Silva, who tested positive in a drug test, and faced rising contender Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC Fight Night 122 main event two weeks later. “The Count” suffered a brutal knockout loss in the first round.
Bamgbose, who said he wasn’t a fan of Bisping’s title run that dated back to UFC 199, doesn’t think it was wise for Bisping to accept the Gastelum bout.
“I believe Bisping truly did get lucky (against Rockhold),” Bamgbose said. “He fought a Luke Rockhold that probably was too passive. And because of that passive mindset, he got caught, he got dropped, he got knocked out.
“And unfortunately, it had to be by Bisping, and I say unfortunately because as you all can see in his last few fights, the man is kind of too much of a risk taker, too much of a guy that’s out there. And yeah, I said it Bisping, you’re f-cking foolish. You thought you could take a fight against a guy that you were seemingly bigger than, and you got f-cked up. Like, why’d you take the fight? Maybe you should’ve spoken to your team and made better informed decisions. You lost your belt, and then you got knocked out two weeks later. You need to make better decisions, buddy.”
Bamgbose has all good things to say about Whittaker, who defends his middleweight title for the first time against Rockhold in the UFC 221 main event early next year.
“He’s the rightful heir to the throne, he’s the rightful champion,” Bamgbose said. “The man has defeated solid 185ers in my division. So I’m glad that the crown is bestowed onto the right king, the right man at the job — a man I can’t wait to fight myself.”