UFC 209 on March 4th is a day away and in order to give the event a little more oomph, the UFC set up a public press conference for the upcoming fight between Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title. But as usual when it comes to the UFC, things went a bit askew.
Still dealing with the fallout from losing the UFC 209 co-main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, Dana White was 20 minutes late. And then he had to come out and announce that Michael Bisping was AWOL, missing somewhere in Las Vegas.
But fortunately, the ever professional Georges St-Pierre was ready to come out and answer some questions about the fight. Let's get to the raw nuts and bolts first: White was unable to pinpoint a date for the comeback fight because of logistics regarding St-Pierre's return to USADA testing.
"I'm hoping and aiming for July," White said. "In a perfect world I'd love to have this fight go down on International Fight Week."
As for Georges St-Pierre, he sounded fired up about returning and is convinced he's a better GSP than we've ever seen before. He reacted strongly when someone asked him if he was still the same fighter he used to be.
"I'm not gonna be the old GSP," he said. "If I come back as the same Georges St-Pierre as I was when I was very successful, I'm going to have a very bad fight the night of the fight. If I come back, it's because I am, my trainers are, and my training partners are convinced that I am a better version than I was when I used to compete. I beleive right now I've reached the perfect peak of athleticism, knowledge, and wisdom as a fighter, and I'm going to prove it to everyone."
As for stepping up in weight to take on a middleweight, Georges admitted he wasn't bigger than he was in his last UFC run.
"I'm always the same weight, I walk around between 185 and 190," St-Pierre admitted. "Actually, even some 155 guys are bigger than me. I'm an average sized welterweight. It's a huge task. And fighting business is like the stock market. Sometimes guys their stock is high, sometimes their stock is low. And it's a question of timing.
“When I used to fight as a welterweight I had a crazy lineup waiting for me, and I had injuries, I blew up my ACL back then. And they were waiting for me. ... Right now I don't hold the belt, no one is waiting for me. I can do whatever I want. It was the perfect timing. I wanted to make a big boom in coming back and as I said, it's like the stock market. And right now the guy with the highest stock was Michael Bisping, and it's the perfect timing for me to do it."
As for the future, St-Pierre remained vague but promised he'd be chasing the biggest fights possible.
"I don't know what's going to happen. We don't know who's up and down, it fluctuates so fast," he said. "I have a general idea, a general long term goal and a general direction. I'm 36 years old. I don't have a lot of fights left but I want to make them as big as possible, so everything I'm going to do, I'm going to do the biggest fights as possible, and I'm going to make history.”
At that point, Michael Bisping appeared on stage to interrupt the former welterweight champion.
"No one gives f**k!" Bisping exclaimed. "No one gives a f**k, Georges!"
The two went back and forth multiple times with Bisping intent on trying to stir the pot with Georges, questioning his fight spirit. Georges responded by questioning whether Bisping was drunk. For all his trash talk, Bisping maintained that he respected St-Pierre, but questioned whether St-Pierre respected him.
"I'm a middleweight, I'm a legit middleweight," Bisping said. "I used to fight at light heavyweight, I was 15-0 at light heavyweight, pal. You are a very good fighter, Georges, I respect you very very much. But at the end of the day there's a reason they have weight classes. It's as simple as that. And I respect you coming back but I know why you picked me. You think I'm an easy fight. Just like Anderson Silva did. Just like Luke Rockhold did when I knocked him out in the first round. Just like everyone did. Yeah, f**k Luke Rockhold. Everyone does. And time and time again I proved them wrong."
"So this guy [Georges], the greatest of all time. Didn't want to face Anderson when he was the man. But he comes out of retirement to face me. Yeah, real good fighter ... It's an easy payday. So thank you, Georges."
As for Yoel Romero, the #1 contender at middleweight getting pushed aside due to St-Pierre's return? Dana White suggested he'd 'take care' of Yoel, whatever that means. But Bisping did White one better, promising he'd take Yoel on immediately after Georges.
"If he's so good, then just keep beating people!" Michael said. "Because Georges doesn't have the style to hurt me. I could show you a text message to Dana right now, I said 'Georges will not hurt me, in six weeks after this fight I will fight Yoel Romero. Correct Dana? So Yoel, sit on the f**king stool, do whatever you want to do. S**t your pants, whatever it may be. I'll be here."
Watch the whole press conference between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre here. It was a pretty fun time.