Georges St-Pierre is one of Under Armour’s most well-known sponsored athletes, and that presents a bit of an issue heading into his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship after a nearly 40-month hiatus because since his departure, the UFC signed an exclusive deal with Reebok for fight gear.
However, St-Pierre’s opponent for his return match, middleweight champion Michael Bisping, is not worried about sponsorships or who provides the gear leading up to his bouts, so long as he gets into The Octagon and does what he loves to do.
“If you’re a real fighter, you don’t give a (expletive) about Under Armour or this or that,” Bisping said in the pre-fight press conference. “I’ve been in the same place the entire time fighting the best in the world, simple as that.
“I don’t need sponsors as an excuse not to fight. I don’t need a reason not to fight. I fight all the time. That’s what I do. I’m a fighter, that’s why I’ve got the (expletive) belt, Georges. Hey, Georges, where’s your belt? Where’s your (expletive) belt, buddy? You don’t have one. The sport’s moved on, buddy. The sport’s moved on.”
The Englishman with more than a decade’s worth of fights to his credit wants to test his skills against the best in the world, which is why he jumped at the opportunity to fight St-Pierre in his return from the hiatus, which started because of a dispute with the UFC over drug testing.
“I’m not trying to scare you, but here’s the fact: I’m a real fighter,” Bisping said directly to St-Pierre. “I’m a real fighter. You’re an athlete and good for you. You’re a very, very good athlete, but you’re an athlete. I’m a fighter. That’s a fact.”
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.
“I used to fight at light-heavyweight,” Bisping explained to St-Pierre. “I was 15-0 at light-heavyweight. You are a very, very good fighter, Georges. I respect you very, very much, but at the end of the day, there’s a reason why they have weight classes. It’s as simple as that. I respect you coming back, but I know why you picked me.”
Two years after his loss to Hughes, St-Pierre avenged the setback with a TKO win over the UFC Hall of Famer that won not only the title, but also, Knockout of the Night honors at UFC 65. After a loss to Matt Serra in his first title defense, St-Pierre rattled off 12 straight wins, including an interim championship win over Hughes at UFC 79 and a unification bout against Serra in 2008.
Following the win in a rematch with Serra, St-Pierre successfully defended the UFC welterweight title nine straight times, and on three occasions, won Fight of the Night honors.
“Everybody’s excited about the fight,” Bisping said. “Myself, I’m very, very excited. Listen, I respect Georges. I respect what he’s done in the UFC, and he’s a fantastic martial artist. He’s an incredible athlete. I think this is going to get a lot of interest, of course. Georges was always a big star in the UFC, so I’ve always wanted to fight the guy.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV