GSP keeps fans, ri­vals guess­ing

UFC mid­dleweight cham­pion plans va­ca­tion be­fore plot­ting next move in­side oc­tagon

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - NEIL DAVID­SON THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Newly crowned mid­dleweight cham­pion Ge­orges St-Pierre says he will dis­cuss his fight­ing fu­ture with the UFC after a planned va­ca­tion.

Right now his con­tract has him fight­ing in­terim mid­dleweight ti­tle­holder Robert Whit­taker next.

“But a lot of things can hap­pen in MMA. You see things change all the time,” St-Pierre told a me­dia con­fer­ence call Thurs­day.

The 36-year-old from Mon­treal said he is go­ing on hol­i­day “to for­get about fight­ing.”

“It’s not my job to think about that, it’s (for) the UFC and my agent. They’re go­ing to talk about it and see what the next move is.”

The mid­dleweight peck­ing or­der changed with the re­turn of St-Pierre, who moved up a weight class to take on Michael Bisp­ing. The 185-pound land­scape changed even more when St-Pierre, in his first fight in four years, sub­mit­ted Bisp­ing in the third round of Satur­day’s UFC 217 main event at Madi­son Square Garden.

St-Pierre said he wasn’t sure what his fu­ture might hold, al­though he sug­gested the an­swer might be com­ing in a few weeks.

He did say that he would not hold up the mid­dleweight divi­sion.

“I don’t plan to hold the ti­tle and not de­fend it . . . I know there’s other guys in line — (former cham­pion) Luke Rock­hold, Whit­taker and all these guys. They have a fam­ily to feed.”

St-Pierre joins Randy Cou­ture, B.J. Penn and Conor McGre­gor as the only fight­ers to win UFC ti­tles in two weight classes.

The 26-year-old Whit­taker (204-0) won the in­terim 185-pound ti­tle in June with a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over Yoel Romero at UFC 213. Bisp­ing was in­jured at the time.

St-Pierre (26-2-0) had not fought since mak­ing his ninth straight wel­ter­weight ti­tle de­fence at UFC167 on Nov. 16, 2013, when he scored a nar­row split de­ci­sion over Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hen­dricks.

St-Pierre said the big change was that Satur­day night he wanted to be un­der the spot­light.

“When I left the sport more than four years ago, I was in a bad place men­tally. I was not hav­ing fun. I was hav­ing fun Satur­day, I mean hav­ing fun to a cer­tain ex­tent be­cause you get hit in the head . . . I did this be­cause I wanted to, not be­cause I had to.”

St-Pierre held the con­fer­ence call be­cause he did not at­tend the post­fight news con­fer­ence. He said he had to go to hospi­tal im­me­di­ately after the fight be­cause he had taken an er­rant el­bow to the back of the head — which is not le­gal — in the first round.

“When I got hit, I got kind of a flash-knock­down a lit­tle bit,” he said. “I got a very bad in­flam­ma­tion in my neck and I couldn’t re­ally move my head much.”

“Now it’s still sore but it got a lot better,” he added. “I got treat­ment on it. I’ll be back 100 per cent pretty soon.

St-Pierre rated his per­for­mance a B, say­ing he could have done more on the ground against Bisp­ing (31-8-0). The neck in­jury didn’t help.

“Michael Bisp­ing did a great job,” he said, com­pli­ment­ing the Brit for his foot­work and strat­egy. “The fight was very dif­fer­ent than I thought it was go­ing to be from his part.”

“I don’t plan to hold the ti­tle and not de­fend it . . . I know there’s other guys in line.” GE­ORGES ST-PIERRE ON THE UFC’S MID­DLEWEIGHT TI­TLE

FRANK FRANKLIN II/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In his first ex­tended com­ments since win­ning the UFC mid­dleweight belt, Ge­orges St-Pierre says he won’t keep con­tenders wait­ing too long.

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