Luke Rockhold got back on the winning track this past weekend (Sat., Sept. 16, 2017) by forcing David Branch to tap to strikes in the main event of UFC Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Michael Bisping, though, wasn’t too impressed with Luke’s performance.
“Ultimately, congratulations to Luke he won the fight and got a stoppage in the second round. I thought he looked very sloppy if I’m honest,” said Bisping during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
“He has a problem with people that can box, people that get inside. He landed some good shots, did David Branch, and if he had a bit more pop he could’ve taken Luke out of there. Congratulations, job well down you got the finish buy he needs to be careful because there is a lot that can be improved upon, but well done.”
Afterward, Luke took to the mic and post-fight interviews to advise Georges St-Pierre to bow out of his upcoming Middleweight fight against “The Count” -- which is set to go down at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 in New York -- since he’s going to get “crushed” in what is ultimately an “irrelevant fight.”
As a result, Bisping had some advice of his own for Luke, whom he knocked out at UFC 199 over a year ago to claim the 185-pound strap.
“I mean, Jesus Christ the guy really needs to stop sulking. He didn’t do himself any favors but God bless him. The guy can’t get through a sentence without interruptions, stuttering, lots of thinking, saying the Georges isn’t going to make it to the Octagon and all this and that,” said Bisping, who says Rockhold predicting St-Pierre’s won’t make it to UFC 217 is ridiculous.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but when was the last time Georges ever pulled out of a fight? Now that it’s official and were doing press and training, I just don’t see Georges pulling out of this fight at all. Does he have a history of doing that? Not to my knowledge.”
Of course, Rockhold didn’t mention Michael by name, which brought a smile to the brash Brit’s face.
“I noticed Luke didn’t say my name, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He talked a lot of shit and he implied my name many times but never actually went ahead and said it, which I thought was very cute” added Bisping. “Listen, good for him, he’s back on track, he wants a rematch and he wants to get his belt back, and that’s what he should want to do. God bless him, we’re all fighters and we want to be champions so I can’t fault him for anything he said, really. He wants to make noise to get a title fight again but he chose to take 15 months off. He went away from the sport a little bit and he’s back and good for him.”
Unfortunately for Luke, St-Pierre is unlikely to pull out of the title fight barring an unforeseen injury, which means the former 185-pound champion will have to win at least one more fight before he gets back to the big dance.
And since Robert Whittaker is waiting in the wings for his title unification match against the winner of Bisping vs St-Pierre, Rockhold’s title fight will likely come later, rather than sooner.
But, a rematch against Bisping may never come, as “The Count” says he could very well retire -- win or lose -- after UFC 217.
“There’s a possibility that this could be my last-ever fight. I don’t know if I will ever fight again after this. What a way to go out if it is? Maybe I don’t know what the future holds, but it’s a possibility. This may be my last fight, so if everyone wants to see Michael Bisping get knocked out, this is your last chance to do it guys,” he added.
“I’ve done this for so long now and there are other things to do in life. I still love this, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t do it forever, you can’t,” he added.
For Bisping, retiring as champion would be the perfect fairy-tale ending, and it’s something “Rush” should've done instead of coming out of his layoff only to lose.
“Georges should’ve stayed retired, stayed as champion. I am going to beat Georges and I am going to retire as champion. I haven’t decided it depends, if there is enough money involved maybe I will stick around. My family wants me to retire, my wife wants me to retire. My manager says it and they say I should retire as champion with a great career, represented my country. But I can’t go forever and we have to know when the time is right. I am not saying the time is right now, by I am contemplating it so we will see. Let’s focus on Georges,” he concluded.