St-Pierre will return to the Octagon following a four-year hiatus when he meets Bisping in the UFC 217 main event on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Canadian is getting an immediate crack at the belt.
Most people wouldn't argue that St-Pierre deserves an immediate title shot upon his return, especially following the Hall of Fame type career that he has already forged. Had he returned at welterweight, where he ruled the roost for years, and received an immediate title shot, nary a soul would have batted an eye. At middleweight, however, it's another story altogether.
There is plenty of room for argument about the legitimacy of St-Pierre receiving a title shot in a division in which he has never fought. That's where Rockhold comes in.
Though he tried to avoid even talking about the Bisping vs. St-Pierre fight, Rockhold is a former middleweight champion and his opinion carries some weight.
“I’ve got no opinion on that fight.”
His teammate, Daniel Cormier, who was co-hosting UFC Tonight on Wednesday night, pinned the question on Rockhold, demanding a response.
“I think Bisping wins the fight. I think GSP is an inflated 155-pounder,” said Rockhold, and at that point, he wasn't to be held back.
“He has no business being in the middleweight division. I think he’s small. I think he's weak. I think he’s going to get crushed. I think he needs to get the hell out (of the division).”
St-Pierre, however, has not taken this endeavor lightly. He knows that he can't just come back at the size he was and expect to compete against the top end of a higher weight class nor can he simply add a few pounds to his frame.
“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. It is perfect timing,” he said in a UFC interview on Facebook Live, explaining that he has spent several months building his body up to handle the heavier weight class.
He, as well as everyone else, will find out on Nov. 4 if it has been enough or if Rockhold's criticism is justified.