If you are anything like me, for the last few months you’ve certainly had a nasty taste in your mouth due to the announcement of Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 for the UFC Middleweight Championship. You’ve had that nasty taste because there is a lot wrong with this fight and it singlehandedly exemplifies the inconsistency in which the UFC has been booking its fights recently.
An easier way to say that is, this fight is a pure money grab for all parties involved. The UFC got to secure a super fight with a returning legend, Bisping gets his biggest payday possible by fighting the returning legend, and St-Pierre can conquer another division while certainly making a pretty penny himself.
This money making venture tossed the proper hierarchy of the middleweight division out the window and created a large logjam in which fighters like Yoel Romero, Luke Rockhold, and even interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker have not received proper opportunities that they each earned.
That said, this is the world we live in now with the UFC. Sometimes money fights trump everything else and this weekend’s main event is a perfect example of that. I’m here to talk you off the ledge and help you enjoy the upcoming UFC fight weekend. Even if you hate the concept of Bisping vs.St-Pierre, there are good reasons to watch and enjoy the action.
1. We get to see UFC legend, Georges St-Pierre compete again
Four years ago this seemed like a pipe dream. Now it’s a reality. St-Pierre is arguably the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC. If you look at his body of work, it isn’t a hard case to make. He’s 25-2 and a three time champion. Regardless of whether you agree with this fight, it’s hard not to be excited to see him back in the octagon. His performance and how he looks this weekend is all part of this. Will he be rusty? Does he have enough left in the tank? Is he passionate enough to fight after a four year layoff? Each are important questions that we get to potentially answer as the fight unfolds on Saturday night. It’s rare that legends like this make a return. In this instance we get the return and in a big way with a title fight in a new weight division. This is historic stuff that we should enjoy.
2. This is a signature opportunity for Michael Bisping to shine
St-Pierre is obviously a major focus of this event and rightfully so. At the same time, Michael Bisping has a ton on the line Saturday night aside from his middleweight championship. For months Bisping has been accused of dodging fights and not wanting to take on certain opponents in favor of St-Pierre. On Saturday he gets to address those critics and with a victory he’ll address them in a big way. A win against St-Pierre will be the biggest of his career. Whether it’s right or wrong, walking out of New York with a “W” puts his name on a very short list of guys that have gone toe to toe with St-Pierre and won. This is Bisping’s opportunity to shine and he’ll be on the biggest stage of his career to do so. It will be fun to watch him take this on.
3. Bisping and St-Pierre both have interesting storylines after they fight
Regardless of who wins at UFC 217, there will be an abundance of great storylines to dive into for both Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre. On Bisping’s side with a win, who does he take on next? Presumably he’ll match up with whoever the interim middleweight champion is. It’s hard to tell with him though. A Bisping loss is even more intriguing. He’s been skirting opponents in his division for months and coming off a loss, it’s incredibly hard to definitively say where he’ll go. Fights with Romero, Whittaker, and a rematch with Rockhold all are exciting prospects. The intrigue of them fades a bit if he isn’t the champion anymore. Bisping has also hinted at retirement which could be another direction he travels regardless of the outcome.
For St. Pierre the road is foggy and interesting as well. He has a four fight contract with UFC and with a win; the next step will certainly be to unify the titles in the middleweight division. Like Bisping, with a loss it gets more interesting. Does St-Pierre stay in the middleweight division or does he go back down to welterweight where he dominated for years? Depending on how he fares, will he even want to fight again when it’s all said and done? The bottom line is the future for both fighters and potentially two different weight divisions can be drastically altered based on Saturday’s outcome.
4. The fight itself should be good
If you put the build, GSP’s return, and all the other drama to the side; this fight itself will be a good one. Seeing GSP knock off the rust against a bigger champion will be entertaining. On the flip side, seeing how Bisping deals with GSP will be equally as fun. GSP in his prime is certainly the better fighter. With a four year layoff, Bisping should be able to close that gap a little with the right strategy. The two have contrasting styles as well. I see the fight going Bisping’s way due to his size, power, and the fact that he hasn’t had a four year sabbatical. GSP could easily prove me wrong which is the main reason the fight is as intriguing as it is.
5. Come UFC 217 on Saturday night, the money grab is over
If none of that has you pumped for Saturday, take solace in that after UFC 217, it’s over. Bisping will go his way and St-Pierre will go his. Go ahead and watch and cheer someone on just for the shear enjoyment of then getting to see them go away for a while.
Just thank me later. It doesn’t sound so bad anymore right? After all, it’s fight weekend folks and there isn’t anything much more enjoyable than that.
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