UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is holding out hope that he'll still face Georges St-Pierre in his next fight, but even if that matchup is taken away from him it appears he won't be returning to the Octagon any time soon.
Bisping responded to UFC president Dana White's recent comments where he said he was cancelling the matchup with St-Pierre after the former welterweight champion revealed that he wouldn't be ready to fight until after November.
In St-Pierre's place, White stated that No. 1 ranked middleweight contender Yoel Romero would get the next shot at Bisping with the date happening much earlier in the year.
Now according to Bisping, the delay to the fight with St-Pierre worked out better for him anyways because he's dealing with a lingering knee injury that would prevent him from competing in the near future regardless of the opponent.
"I will say this and I've said it before, it's a blessing in disguise cause I can't fight any time soon," Bisping said on his "Believe You Me" podcast. "I can't exercise at all at the moment. I can't train. My knee is giving me many, many problems. It was doing it in Thailand, it's still getting no better. I haven't trained since I've been in London cause I've been busy most days. I've flirted with some weights in the hotel gym, which is not very good shall we say. I haven't trained and it just isn't getting better. The back of my knee is incredibly tight. I can't actually straighten my left leg. I think that's because all the tendons and ligaments and muscles are super tight and that's why I can't straighten it. My surgeon said we had to work on stretching that but it just kind of got extenuated if you will and it's super tight. I can't even walk for like five minutes so I need to get back and start getting some treatment on that.
"So long story short what I'm getting at is that I'm not going to be ready to fight any time soon anyways. So that's another reason why this played out into the perfect scenario for me."
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Bisping says while White has made it clear that he's moving past the proposed matchup with St-Pierre, he still hasn't spoken to the UFC president or anyone from the promotion to tell him that the fight is officially off.
Regardless of what's been said, Bisping believes that should still be his next fight because that's the bout he agreed to take and he still wants to face St-Pierre next.
"Honestly, it's news to me. I haven't heard anything about it. I reached out to Georges and he said he hasn't heard anything official either and I still haven't heard anything from the UFC or Dana White. I know that a lot of people are complaining about this potential delay with Georges so we'll see what happens," Bisping said.
"To clarify, no official word from the UFC. I haven't heard anything. Georges is still hoping for it. I'm still hoping for it. I'll say this, I was offered the fight twice. I was offered the fight in October and it never materialized. I was offered the fight in January or February and it did materialize and we had a press conference and we shook hands and we stood there in Las Vegas and we talked a bit of [expletive]. So OK, I haven't had a bout agreement, but that is the plan. That was the offer and I accepted. I kind of feel once a deal is made we should stick to it, that's how I feel."
Without speaking to the UFC, Bisping can't say exactly why the organization suddenly decided to scrap the matchup with St-Pierre other than needing title fights to headline upcoming pay-per-views this summer.
As much as Bisping sympathizes with their woes, he's still not going to be ready to fight any time soon so it doesn't sound like the middleweight title would be up for grabs regardless of whether or not the bout with St-Pierre happens.
"Maybe they need an active champion to fight sooner. I think that's probably at the top of it," Bisping said. "I honestly don't think they're trying to push pressure on Georges. They need title fights on the pay-per-views, which I understand. I understand the frustration from their side, just like a lot of the middleweight division are kind of frustrated. They need title fights on their pay-per-views and waiting until November is a significant delay so I understand that.
"But as I said, we did have a deal. I have to speak to the UFC and see what's happening."
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images/Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
Of course, several middleweight contenders will surely be frustrated to hear about this newest delay in getting the next title fight scheduled.
At the top of the list is Romero, who was declared the No. 1 contender last November when he knocked out former champion Chris Weidman and yet he's still sitting on the sidelines waiting for Bisping to return.
From the sound of things as bad as Bisping might feel for anyone waiting for a shot at his belt, they will just have to stay patient until he's ready to fight again.
"Yoel's been there for a bit now, I understand that," Bisping said. "Robert Whittaker is there and Gegard [Mousasi] as well but I've got a fight booked and until I hear any differently from an official source, I'm expecting to fight GSP."
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