The UFC’s middleweight division is a disaster.
Since winning the title with a shocking knockout victory over Luke Rockhold last June at UFC 199 in California, current champion Michael Bisping has only defended his strap once, scoring a decision victory over Dan Henderson in a highly criticized booking last October at UFC 204 in his hometown of Manchester, England.
Earlier this year, UFC President Dana White announced that instead of taking on top contender Yoel Romero, Bisping would next defend his title against returning former welterweight king Georges St. Pierre. St. Pierre hasn’t competed since scoring a controversial decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in 2013 and he has never competed at middleweight, although he remains a well-known name in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Recently, however, “Rush” said he wouldn’t be available to fight until next fall, leading White to call off the bout. Bisping then made things even more difficult, revealing that he was still suffering from a knee injury that would keep him on the sidelines for the coming months as well.
Because of these issues, White admitted that the promotion is considering booking an interim title bout between Romero and No. 3-ranked Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker:
“We’re trying to put together that Bisping-Romero fight,” White told ESPN.com. “If [Bisping] can’t fight this summer, we’ll probably create an interim title between Romero and Robert Whittaker.”
It’s currently unclear when a potential interim title fight would take place.
Romero is riding an incredible eight fight win streak, with six of those victories coming by way of stoppage. “The Solider of God” holds notable victories over Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and he’s coming off of a vicious flying knee stoppage of former champion Chris Weidman.
The 26-year-old Whittaker, on the other hand, is riding a seven fight win streak of his own, with four of those victories coming by way of stoppage. “The Reaper” most recently scored an upset victory over “Jacare” at UFC on FOX 24 in Kansas City this past April.
Booking an interim title fight between these two contenders certainly makes quite a bit of sense, especially if Bisping is going to be out of action for the foreseeable future. It will also likely invigorate the disgruntled middleweight division, as numerous contenders have voiced their displeasure with not only the state of the division, but the UFC’s recent matchmaking as well.
As far as St. Pierre goes, his future is a bit a cloudy at the moment. White, however, said that the Canadian star will likely compete for the welterweight title once he makes his long awaited return to the Octagon:
“[St-Pierre] says he will fight whoever the 170-pound champion is when he comes back,” White said.
Do you still expect a bout between Bisping and St. Pierre to take place and are you content with the UFC making an interim 185-pound title?