The UFC hosted a press conference in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday, featuring UFC 217 headliners Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre. It was a fitting environment for the event, given GSP is a future Hall of Fame’r in Mixed Martial Arts. Middleweight champion Bisping as well, no doubt. The pair got heated at times, though many of the exchanges were tongue-in-cheek.
While it didn’t come with the fanfare of the MayMac World Tour, the UFC was certainly doing its best to promote the upcoming PPV event in New York. They’re no doubt reeling from the reportedly low buyrates of their last two major events, UFC 215 in Edmonton and UFC 216 in Las Vegas.
Bisping, who referred to St. Pierre at “the lizard” through much of the event and mocked his French Canadian accent, admitted that GSP has “fantastic timing” with his takedowns. That said “it doesn’t really concern me. I’m a bigger guy, I’m a stronger guy.” He’d go on to say that the former welterweight champ was “the smallest” guy he’d ever fought.
GSP, meanwhile, had a response to Bisping’s jabs. “The Lizard will retire him.”
“I’m going to do whatever I want, whenever I want to” the Canadian said of the fight. Later he added “I can take him down, I can outstrike him, submit him, I can do all these things. Cardio has never been an issue for me.”
“He’s only bigger, that’s it. I’ve got a lot more weapons, my fighting IQ is much higher than his, I can adjust myself through the fight.”
Much of the banter strayed from actual fight talk, however. GSP talked of the pressure he felt defending his belt nine times. Bisping once again brought up talk of PED use, despite St. Pierre never having tested positive for any banned substances.
“What about that camping trip you took to avoid USADA?” Bisping asked, with no real background given. “You don’t even believe that yourself” GSP retorted. When the middleweight champ brought up Georges St. Pierre claiming he’d retire with a loss, GSP responded with an accusation that Bisping was sticking around for a payday. “You wanted to have a big payday, then after that you’re gone into the sunset” he said.
Both men, however, would talk of the respect they had for one another.
A final face-off resulted in Bisping pointing his finger in St. Pierre’s face, and the Canadian pushing back, though both were ultimately smiling. Which one will be smiling following the outcome of their UFC 217 main event remains to be seen.