UFC 217: Georges St-Pierre’s return and Michael Bisping’s reign at the top
Tensions are sky high in anticipation of the UFC 217 fight card which has been met with mixed feelings by the MMA community. The main card is, of course, what most people have been discussing. GSP’s return to the octagon after four long years and his fight with the current UFC middleweight champion, Britain’s very own Michael “The Count” Bisping, is where the spotlight will be focused at this event.
The fight was announced on the 26th of August, but the seeds for the fight were planted before that with back and forth exchanges between the fighters on social media. Ever since then, the trash talking has continued and they even came close to trading blows at the official media day. The verbal jabs between the fighters will probably last up until the fight finishes on November 4th at Madison Square Garden.
The reason some MMA fans and community members dislike this pair up is, first of all, the different weight classes of both fighters. Michael is a middleweight at 185 pounds, while Georges is a welterweight at 170 pounds. Secondly, Bisping holds the title right now and, instead of facing off against the interim champion, Robert Whittaker, he’ll be fighting a legendary but straight-out-of-retirement St-Pierre. This has been happening ever more frequently in the UFC whenever the organization believes there’s more money in a specific fight. This leads to separated divisions and blocks the ladder for the other fighters.
Even though this fight might have been set up for the big draw it’s supposed to have, that might not turn out to be the case. Longtime UFC colour commentator and retired martial artist, Joe Rogan, said on his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” that the fight is supposedly not selling well. The reasoning behind the alleged low interest in the fight, according to Rogan, is that it was four years ago that Georges St-Pierre last fought Johny Hendricks. He also argues that the casual fans and viewers are unfamiliar with GSP, and that the UFC will need more than the hardcore fans for the fight to sell well.
From the fighters’ side, Michael Bisping argues that he’ll crush GSP on the count that not only he’s a better fighter but he’s also much bigger. St-Pierre on the other hand, retorts that he’s used his four-year absence very well and that he’s better, smarter and stronger than ever.