UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping believes Georges St-Pierre chose to fight him after ending a 40-month retirement because he believes it will be an easy fight to take in a return to The Octagon later this year.
But St-Pierre, a former welterweight champion of the world that made nine straight title defenses before stepping away from the UFC over a dispute about drug testing, knows better than to take any fight lightly, especially when there is a belt on the line.
“I have an opportunity, and I can’t miss it,” St-Pierre said. “It’s the biggest fight possible that I can do right now, and that’s why I’m doing it right now. It’s a big challenge. I don’t take anybody lightly, and I’m going to prove it the day of the fight.”
Currently, Bisping is on a five-fight winning streak, dating back to a unanimous decision win over C.B. Dollaway at UFC 186 in April of 2015.
Debuting in the UFC in 2006 by way of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, Bisping fought against some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts, including Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson twice, Rashad Evans, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jason Miller, Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann, Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva.
And yet, it took Bisping more than a decade to earn a UFC title shot, which he made good on with a first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 199. Then, four months later, Bisping successfully defended the middleweight championship of the world with a unanimous decision win over Henderson.
“He’s wrong on that,” St-Pierre said of Bisping’s claims. “I would say there are different fighters. There are fighters that rely purely on their talent, and they fight in a very elegant way, but most of the time, when these guys fight and they get cracked, they go down. You open the floodgate, and they never come back.
“Michael is a different kind of fighter. He’s a fighter that doesn’t only rely on his talent. He’s a hard worker. He’s a grinder, and I admire that. Outside of his attitude, I admire his work ethic because no matter what you throw at him, he’s going to come back. He’s been put down before, but he’s always stood up and come back. No matter what obstacle you put, he’s going to try to cross it, so I’m going to have to take him out of order in that fight, and I’m aware of it.”
Although St-Pierre was respectful in his analysis of Bisping’s skills, he did deliver a warning to the champion in the press conference announcing the fight.
“My plan is to kick your butt,” St-Pierre said. “We’ll see after that.”
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