Unlike Tyron Woodley, Dana White didn’t pull any punches when it came to Woodley’s title defense against Demian Maia. Woodley won the fight and successfully defended his welterweight championship at UFC 214, but he lost the crowd and possibly his shot at former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre as well.
Leading up to UFC 214, White promised that the winner of Woodley vs Maia would be granted a shot at former champ GSP, who vacated the welterweight title back in 2013. White’s announcement came after a middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and St-Pierre fell through. “The Bisping ship has sailed,” White had assured Woodley. “If you win on Saturday, it’s going to be you, pal.”
But after yet another Woodley snoozefest, which set a record for the fewest strikes attempted in a UFC fight, White heard the boos ringing through the arena and went back on his word. During the press conference, he announced the Bisping fight was back on: “That ship f*cking turned around and sailed back!”
However, as with all things concerning Dana White, we can’t be sure until the contracts are signed. Who’s next in line for GSP and will his comeback go according to plan? Here are the odds.
Michael Bisping: 3/17
Tyron Woodley: 9/1
Word on the street is that Bisping vs GSP will headline UFC 217 (November 4th) at Madison Square Garden. This makes a lot of sense for everyone involved. Bisping and GSP, both aging fighters (38 and 36, respectively), would have the chance to make a big payday, and the UFC would have a mega-fight to promote in New York.
Woodley vs GSP would be the more significant fight, pitting the greatest welterweight of all time against the current welterweight champ. But in the pay-per-view business, that counts for very little. Who’s going to pay to watch a Woodley fight against anyone right now?
There are some other options still available to GSP, like a rematch against Nick Diaz or an elusive super-fight against Anderson Silva. But at the moment, it looks like Bisping is the man to welcome GSP back into the octagon.
Whomever he fights, it’s going to be tough for GSP. Woodley may not be exciting to watch, but he’s incredibly effective, and won’t have four years of ring rust slowing him down. As for Bisping, GSP is the more talented fighter, clearly, but he’s never fought at middleweight. The hard-working Brit would be a huge challenge.
At 36 years old, St-Pierre is already at the tail-end of his fighting career. If he defeats Bisping, he’ll face a stacked list of middleweight contenders. Fighters like Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Luke Rockhold will be lining up for a shot, and those match-ups pose a lot more risk than reward. He’s already shown that he’s willing to walk away from a title belt.
GSP still has something to prove, both to his fans and to himself. After that, he’ll probably be ready to hang up the gloves for good.
Photo credit: Ryan Mallard (flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0].
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