Following last week’s seminal victory for Canadian Georges St-Pierre over Michael Bisping to claim the UFC middleweight title, speculation has been abound around what the future holds for the MMA veteran.
UFC 217 answered a lot of questions and settled a lot of scores. It has also been heralded as one the very best UFC cards of all time, which is a truly great achievement considering that the name “McGregor” was absent from the event. One significant question that was in fact raised by the event however was what’s next for GSP?
Yes it’s true that in his contract it states that he must face the interim champion Robert Whittaker, but these contractual claims have been circumvented many times before and there is no guarantee that that it the next step for St-Pierre. GSP himself has been deliberative in his obfuscation, when asked about the Whittaker fight being next all he could reply with was “I can’t say for sure anything. I don’t know anything.”
George St-Pierre discusses his future on The MMA Hour. Hardly ‘fighting talk’ is it?
UFC 221 Perth
UFC 221 has been booked for Perth, but it seems extremely unlikely that GSP will want to defend the title in Australia, so far from his home town of Montreal. Also, it’s even unclear that he will want to stay at middleweight to defend his crown. Yes he looked sharp and strong at the weight, but he did slow down considerably and his cardio seemed to suffer from the additional size.
What we do know are 3 things for sure. GSP has a maximum of 3 fights left before retirement. He is looking to make the best financial return from these fights, and wants to take as little damage as he can during them.
So what are his options?
1. Tyron Woodley
This would certainly be a superfight. The kings of the welterweight & middleweight divisions dueling it out would be a great spectacle. However, Woodley hits extremely hard and is one of the best wrestlers on the UFC roster, so wouldn’t be an ideal matchup for GSP.
2. Robert Whittaker
The so-called ‘contracted’ bout. Whittaker isn’t the biggest middleweight fighter, having moved up from welterweight – but he’s certainly a big hitter. The true reason that I don’t believe this one will happen is the value. Whittaker just isn’t a big enough name yet for this to reward GSP financially.
3. Conor McGregor
This would truly be the big one. Does it make any sense? No. Are they in remotely the same weight class? No. Would the world watch it? Hell yes.
It’s a tricky spot for GSP, and after a difficult year for the UFC, it must be great to have their pre-McGregor PPV king back in the roster holding a title. But where to go with him next doesn’t seem clear to me. There are many options, but they all herald significant dangers of one kind or another, and it is vital that they choose well.